Can Danny Valencia Finish Strong?

Jul 14, 2011


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Injuries forced Danny Valencia into the Twins’ lineup last year and he responded with a .311 average, 30 runs, seven home runs, and 40 RBI in 299 at bats. Aside from the average the numbers weren’t all that useful, but he did have some fantasy value, especially in September when he found his power stroke hitting five home runs with 17 RBI in 84 at bats.
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That strong finish led to some optimism heading into the season. Then April happened. Valencia hit .217. Then May happened. Valencia hit .243. Then June happened. Valencia hit .191. Valencia entered July hitting .218. The saving grace was his RBI production. Valencia reached double-digit RBI in each of the first three months despite his struggles at the plate. He also topped last year’s home run production with eight through June.
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Suddenly Valencia turned on a switch in July. For the month he has hit .368 in 38 at bats. He has already hit two home runs for the month to give him double-digits on the year. We won’t confuse him for this year’s Jose Bautista, but his ten dingers ranks ninth among third basemen. He has also reach double-digit RBI for the fourth straight month. His 46 ribbies puts him in a tie for sixth.
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I believe a continued turnaround is a realistic expectation. The Twins finished strong and as their confidence has increased, the bats should follow. Plus, Valencia has been unlucky this year. His BABIP sits at .257, which is well below the .345 mark he set last year. If you look at his track record Valencia has been consistently above a .300 BABIP. Not surprising, Valencia’s turnaround coincides with his improved BABIP. In April it was .234. In May it was .262. In June it was .212. Through the All-Star Break Valencia’s July BABIP is .400.
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Baseball has a way of averaging itself out. If Danny Valencia can have a .300 BABIP the rest of the way, along with his increased power and RBI production, he could be a worthwhile fantasy third basemen down the stretch.
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