Tigers Scouting Report #22: Jose Valdez

While the Tigers don't have quite the same arsenal of power-fastball arms that they've had in year's past, they're not completely devoid of guys that can deliver the ball in the upper-90's, and Jose Valdez is one of those guys. After a year in Erie, how close could Valdez be to knocking on the big league door?

Jose Valdez

Vitals

Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 3/1/1990 (2015 Opening Day Age: 25)
Height/Weight: 6-1/200
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2009
Ranking History: #133 (2011), #150 (2012), #58 (2013), #17 (2014), #22 (2015)

Background: Signed prior to the 2009 season, Valdez spent three years in the Dominican Summer League harnessing his raw stuff before pitching for the GCL Tigers in 2012 where he posted a 0.82 ERA in 22 innings. He breezed through both A-ball levels in 2013, combining for a 2.77 ERA and 33 saves with over 12 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2014, the Tigers pushed the 24-year old right-hander to Double-A Erie where he was solid in his first taste of advanced competition.

Performance:

2014 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
Erie 4701857.05662726266614.111.442-3


Scouting Report

Body: Short, stocky player; strong frame with good muscle throughout; barrel chest and strong legs; maxed out with limited projection in body.

Delivery/Mechanics: High energy with some effort; still learning to repeat everything from the balance point to release; landing foot varies wildly at times; overthrows and loses arm slot at other times; very fast arm; solid action; not a premium athlete, but athletic enough to make strides with repetition; potential for solid delivery but will always have effort.

Fastball: Shows gas in the 94-96 mph range consistently; regularly finds 97-98 mph in game situations; FB has explosive velocity out of high energy delivery; some deception because of energy/effort in delivery; ball jumps on hitters; good life when thrown down in the zone; tends to lose FB up in the zone too frequently; loses life up in the zone, as well as leverage because he lacks substantial height/angle; near plus-plus heater that could play to that level with greater mechanical consistency. Grade – Present 6+/Future 7

Slider: Very good second pitch; likes to blow FB by hitters but quickly learned against advanced hitters that he needs to come back with SL more regularly; consistently thrown 84-85 mph with tight, hard spin; can run it up to 87-89 mph when he gets amped up; true power slider with swing and miss potential; second plus pitch at times. Grade – 5+/6

Control/Command: Not a complete wild card and rarely loses the strike zone entirely; typically throws FB and SL around the zone; needs to refine ability to keep ball down and work the lower third of the zone; can be prone to elevating FB and works SL away from RHH too much; needs to mix it up; potential for solid control profile that works given high octane arsenal.

Other: Aggressive mentality on the mound; doesn’t get rattled and consistently tries to come back with his best stuff when he gets beat; suspension for PEDs on his resume (2010).



Final Word

Summary: Pure power reliever profile; FB and SL to carry the load in high leverage situations; aggressive thrower that is still learning how to pitch; began mixing pitches better in 2014; can miss bats with both offerings; control profile still evolving; only lacking consistency to carry MLB relief role for an extended period.

Risk: Moderate risk; intermittent success against advanced competition; big stuff; near ceiling with entire profile.

Projection: Still needs to polish some rough edges at Triple-A in 2015; already on 40-man roster and should make MLB debut this season; with high-profile raw stuff, Valdez could lock down a relief spot with ease; potential setup arm if everything comes together.

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