Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Is Valdespin temper-mental...

Photo by Michael Baron

John Sickels of Minor league ball has posted his 2012 preliminary Mets top 20 prospect list.   

Overall, the assessment of the system seems pretty fair and it's nice to see the farm returning to relevancy.  The system appears quite stacked in regard to pitching but still a bit thin in the hitting dept., as they say; Rome wasn't built in a day.

One comment Sickels made that did surprise me was in regard to SS/2B prospect Jordan Valdespin.

12) Jordan Valdespin, 2B-SS, Grade C+: Will probably rank higher on other lists. Tools and athleticism stand out, developed more power this year, but high-maintenance mercurial personality and sloppy strike zone judgment make me wary that he'll fulfill his potential. source Minor League Ball

I don't recall hearing about Valdespin's mercurial personality as Sickels put it, in fact the last thing I recalled hearing was Depodesta singing his praise.

“I think at the Double-A level, a lot of the guys we had there weren’t necessarily ready to come here. But (infielder) Josh Satin had a terrific year and is now in Triple-A and hasn’t missed a beat. (Middle infielder) Jordany Valdespin had a great year, and has actually played shortstop extremely well and has gotten better month after month and is now, I think, absolutely a viable major league shortstop. source ESPN NY 

The 24y/o left handed hitting middle infielder has been in the Mets system for five seasons in which he has a career BA of .283, OBP .330, .428 Slg and .758 OPS.  In 2010 he was promoted from A+ to AA for 28 games and hit .238.  Last year he started the season in AA and after hitting .297 with 15 HRs and 24 doubles in 107 games he was promoted to Buffalo where he hit .280 in 27 games.

Overall, he's played 207 games at 2B and 145 games at SS ( one game in LF in his first season), but until last year he predominantly played 2B.  Of the 145 games he's played at SS 98 games came last year.  Initially he struggled in his first stint as a regular shortstop making 26 errors in  347 opportunities in Binghamton, in Buffalo he made 6 errors in 76 opportunities, overall in his first full season at SS he had a .925 Fld % between the two leagues.

I tried to do a little digging on what Sickels was referencing in his top 20 list and there were several vague comments or innuendos but nothing substantial, until I found this Bison notebook article which chronicled his struggles...

But the book on Jordany Valdespin isn't restricted to the normal on-field growing pains.

In June of 2009, while playing with Class-A Savannah, Valdespin was involved in an incident within the team circle that resulted in him being banished to extended spring training for two months.

While the organization has never revealed what took place, the rumor mill spun that Valdespin had issues getting along with some teammates.

Valdespin's woes didn't end there as earlier this season he found himself in Binghamton manager Wally Backman's doghouse because of his lack of intensity.

But after riding the pine for a few games Valdespin returned to the lineup with a newfound and attitude.

"He's showed his teammates a lot more respect," said Wally Backman. "He's had a few issues with players in the past. And this year, he's been good. I think its showed in the way he's played the game."
source MetroWNY

So was last year in Buffalo an aberration or has he matured, maybe the higher level of competition made him focus more on the field then off.  One thing seems clear Backman had his number and after receiving  some of Wally's tough love he was in check for the rest of the season,  which could be a good thing for the up coming season since both will be in Buffalo together...