What Danny Valencia Provides the Royals
Sep 13, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Danny Valencia (35) singles in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Baltimore defeated Toronto 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
We had all expected that the Royals would move one of their extra outfielders this offseason, so the fact that David Lough was traded is likely not anything surprising. What may be surprising, however, is that the Royals traded Lough to the Baltimore Orioles to acquire third baseman Danny Valencia.
What the Royals have acquired in Valencia may be a right handed complement to Mike Moustakas. While the Royals have waited for Moustakas to tap into this power potential, Valencia is another third baseman that has power potential, only from the right side. During his time in the majors, Valencia has hit 33 home runs, despite only having one season as an every day player. His power has not only manifested in home runs, as Valencia has also slugged 66 doubles, and over 8% of his at bats end up with an extra base hit.
Danny Valencia is also a bit of a rarity for a power hitter in that he does not strike out that often. While that does not translate into walks, as he has walked in only 5.6% of his plate appearances in the majors, Valencia has been able to put the bat on the ball, striking out in only 17.4% of his at bats. However, for a power hitter, Valenica does not hit many line drives, as his lien drive rate of 18% is slightly below average. When he does hit the ball in the air, he also hits slightly fewer balls out of the yard then the average hitter. Where these home runs come from is that Valencia is an extreme fly ball hitter, with a ground ball to fly ball ratio of 0.78 in his career.
As such an extreme fly ball hitter, it is likely that Valencia may see his production decrease in Kauffman Stadium. Yet, despite his fly ball tendencies and the large outfield, Valencia has actually hit well in Kansas City, producing at a .295/.358/.426 rate with one home run and twelve RBIs in 61 career at bats at Kauffman. If he is able to continue that type of production as part of a potential platoon with Moustakas, he could potentially be quite the bargain for the Royals.
It seemed likely that the Royals would look to find someone that could potentially push Mike Moustakas, aside from Emilio Bonifacio. With Danny Valencia, they not only did so, but also acquired another power bat for the bench. During an offseason where the Royals have made several solid moves, Valencia is just the latest one.