by Ray Kuhn
Did You Know:
Luis Valbuena appears poised to be a contributor this season based on his spring performance. Through action on Wednesday, the third baseman is hitting .429 in 35 at bats with 2 HR, 8 RBI and five doubles.
I know we need to take Spring Training statistics with a grain of salt, but this season Baseball Reference has provided us with a handy tool to evaluate the competition faced. Valbuena’s competition grades out to be 8.8 out of 10 with 8 being Triple-A level and 10 being major league level.
While the batting average is certainly a good thing, we know that he is not going to keep that up once the season starts. Last season, in what was Valbuena’s first full body of work (478 at bats), he hit just .249 with a .294 BABIP. Both were career highs and I wouldn’t expect to see the 29-year old to hit much higher than .250 this season.
What is important from Valbuena’s 2014 performance was his 33 doubles to go along with 16 HR and 51 RBI. That, to me, is an indicator of success. Valbuena had a 140 Power Index last season and also had a 120 Hard Contact Rating (100 is average in both cases).
So far this spring Valbuena has spent six games batting in the third spot, and all signs point to that continuing once the season starts (at least against right-handers).
In standard 12-team leagues Valbuena isn’t worth more than a $2 or $3 bid at most, but he will have value.
Sources: Baseball Reference, Baseball HQ
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