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MLB Rookie Profile: Pat Valaika, INF, Colorado Rockies

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Rockies rookie projects as utility man with occasional power

MLB: Spring Training-Kansas City Royals at Colorado Rockies Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday the Colorado Rockies promoted rookie infielder Patrick Valaika to the major league roster. Here’s a quick profile.

Patrick Valaika was drafted by the Rockies in the ninth round in 2013 from UCLA. He was not an outstanding hitter in college, hitting just .254/.330/.364 over three seasons, but playing for a major program gave him wide exposure with scouts, who praised his defensive instincts and makeup. He was projected as a utility player and the Rockies drafted him with that in mind.

In pro ball Valaika has developed some pop, hitting 12 homers in A-ball in 2014 and 14 more in Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, combining for a .257/.297/.426 line. He rated as a Grade C pre-season but did not make the Colorado Rockies Top 20 prospects list.

Valaika is a right-handed hitter and thrower, listed at 5-11, 200 pounds, born September 9th, 1992. He does have some pop and hit a home run during his brief exposure with the Rockies last season as part of his .263/.263/.474 line in 19 at-bats. On the other hand his approach is aggressive, generally pull--oriented, and he can get in trouble when he lets his swing get too long. He isn’t likely to hit for high averages or on-base percentages.

His best defensive tool is his strong, accurate throwing arm. Most of his infield experience is at shortstop and the arm works very well there, but it fits well at third base, too. He has good hands and is very reliable on routine plays, but his organic range at shortstop is just so-so. I think he’s excellent at second and third base and he’s added some innings at first base to add to his versatility.

Overall he projects as a utility infielder who can manage .250 with an occasional home run. Speaking of which: