Today, Dan Duquette made another acquisition of a once (somewhat less) promising third baseman by the name of Danny Valencia. Valencia was a fringe prospect coming out of college and required three solid seasons at the plate before he was given much consideration as a top talent. Issues with breaking balls, defense, and his demeanor began to fade away as his bat began to play in AA and AAA. However, he still cannot touch a breaking ball from a right hander, the defense is merely below average, and his behavior on the field seemed to tone down a bit.
In 2010, the Twins were underwhelmed with Brendan Harris and Matt Tolbert at the hot corner, so they gave Valencia a trial at third even though he had been unimpressive in AAA (292/347/373). Once in the majors, he broke out with a slash line of 311/351/448 (1.9 rWAR, 2.6 fWAR). There was some concern attached to his .345 BABIP because he needs a high successful contact rate to make up for a below average walk rate. In 2011, he provided a decent amount of evidence that he is not a full time player with a slash of 246/294/383 (-0.6 rWAR, 0.4 fWAR) during 154 starts.
Then came 2012:
His season was split between AAA and MLB as well as between the Minnesota and Boston organizations. He struggled against both left handed and right handed major leaguers to go aong with substandard defense. That combination is a difficult one to stomach, so he spent most of his season in the minors where he showed some aptitude against left handers.
PA BA OBP SLG OPS+ AAA vL 90 .329 .378 .537 127 AAA vR 239 .233 .272 .348 86 MLB vL 45 .214 .200 .333 73 MLB vR 96 .185 .208 .283 67
As it stands, it is difficult to say that Valencia will contribute positively to the Orioles in 2013. He provides a weak glove and a bat that at best provides plus value against left handed pitchers (~30% of plate appearances). Best case scenario? He provides the same value as Jonny Gomes for 4.5MM less.