At the waiver trade deadline yesterday the Atlanta Braves traded veteran hitter Jonny Gomes to the Kansas City Royals for infield prospect Luis Valenzuela. Here's a quick take on the newest member of the Braves organization.
Luis Valenzuela, SS: Valenzuela was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2011. He was released after hitting .133 in 30 at-bats in 2012, was cited for PED use while on the free agent list, then signed with the Royals in 2013 and served the 50-game suspension. He got on the field at Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League in 2014, hitting an uninspiring .259/.306/.370, then took a step forward in 2015 with a .333/.362/.475 line through 177 at-bats for Lexington in the Low-A South Atlantic League.
Valenzuela is a left-handed hitter born August 25, 1993. He's hitting very well this year, admittedly in a 48-game sample, far better than in any previous campaign, showing an aggressive approach (just eight walks) but featuring some power, speed (nine steals in 11 attempts) and adequate defense at shortstop. He's seen a few innings at second and third base and utility work may be his long-term destination.
He would rate as a Grade C+ prospect at this stage, pending more data, but is certainly worth watching as a sleeper type.