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February 10, 2014

Minor League Update

Caribbean Series Final

by Jeff Moore


There’s no point in burying the lede here: Mexico won the Caribbean Series over the weekend.

The final game saw the Mexican team overtake Puerto Rico 7-1, behind, among other things, the bat of Sebastian Valle. The Phillies catcher hit a grand slam that proved to be the death knell for the Puerto Rican squad. It was an uneventful game from a prospect standpoint, but the production the Mexican team got from Valle this series brings to light the interesting road that some prospects take.

Valle is an intriguing case study in scouting and prospects in general. Once a highly rated prospect within the Phillies system (ranked as high as 10th in 2011), Valle is still a physical specimen, strongly built with a solid base and frame. In batting practice, he still looks like a high-end prospect, showing off the ability to drive the ball with a smooth, easy swing.

But he takes that swing to the game with the effectiveness of Pedro Cerrano.

It’s not as simple as a Hollywood movie in which a batting-practice curveball renders the hitter helpless, but it’s as close to a real-life version as you’ll find. As he moved through the Phillies ranks, Valle’s struggles have increased, most specifically with pitch recognition. Once highly touted based on his above-average power for a catcher, Valle has found it harder and harder to translate that power into production as the competition improved.

Valle had been on the Phillies 40-man roster, but he was removed this offseason and designated for assignment. He cleared waivers and remains in the Phillies organization.

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<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: Fe... (02/10)
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