Atlanta Braves Top 100 Prospects: #44 Luis Valenzuela
Luis Valenzuela Scouting Report
More from Tomahawk Take
- Atlanta Braves 2012 Prospect Review: Joey Terdoslavich
- Braves News: Braves sign Fuentes, Andruw’s HOF candidacy, more
- The Weakest Braves Homers Since 2015
- Atlanta Braves Sign Joshua Fuentes to Minor League Deal
- Braves News: New Year’s Eve comes with several questions about the 2023 Braves
Valenzuela is listed at 5’10 and 150, and he’s probably right around that height, but 15-20 pounds heavier. He is a lefty hitter and righty thrower.
Valenzuela carries himself well at the plate, with a slightly open stance and a nice level swing. He leaves the bat in the zone a long time, which allows him to get a lot of contact, and I was impressed in the games I was able to see of Valenzuela how much he was able to drive the ball from his frame. I don’t know that there’s a 30-homer guy there or anything, but I could honestly see him putting some muscle on his frame and turning into a 20-homer guy if he is bulked up and moved to a corner infield spot. He has a better eye than his BB/K ratio would indicate, but I do see that he tends to go on strike out “streaks” where he racked up strikeouts, frequently getting 4-5 strikeouts over a 2-3 game series and then going multiple series without a strikeout. When he’s struggling like that, he tends to pull off of the ball when he gets a bit pull-happy, but he can generate good power if he stays on the ball and in his swing, in fact better power than you’d ever imagine from his frame.
Valenzuela at 150 may very well have been a lightning-quick runner, but he’s not that anymore. What he has now is a great first 2-3 steps. He may not have elite top end speed like some players, but that first initial boost allows him to take an extra base or get great breaks on pitchers not holding him on. He’ll never steal 40 bases, but if he was a full-time guy, he certainly could steal 20ish with very good success. The thing he does very well on the bases is working as part of a hit-and-run or taking multiple bases on a hit to the outfield. He impressed me a ton with his instincts on such plays in the video I saw of him, especially considering the limited pro instruction he’s had.
In the field, I don’t think Valenzuela is a long-term shortstop, though he can cover the position in a pinch. His range isn’t great, but he does have a very strong arm, so he could get more time at third going forward and very possibly the outfield to truly take advantage of his defensive flexibility. He has sure hands and had no issues throwing with good accuracy from second or short in the games I viewed of his from this year.
Next: 2016 outlook