With the acquisition of catching prospect Tommy Joseph from the San Francisco Giants in the Hunter Pence trade, the Philadelphia Phillies have promoted catcher Sebastian Valle to Triple-A.
Valle has been thought by some to be the catcher of the future in Philadelphia, as he plays a game similar to that of Carlos Ruiz. Valle is very raw though still and probably not quite ready for Triple-A, but it doesn’t really make sense for the Phillies to have both Joseph and Valle in Double-A with the Reading Phillies.
Valle was hitting .261/.281/.438 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs in 325 plate appearances this season, and he plays terrific defense behind the plate (1.000 fielding percentage in 632 chances this year). He has good power for a player that is still just 22 years old and he will likely just develop more, although there are definitely some aspects of his game that he could stand to improve, notably his atrocious walk rate.
Valle has walked just 11 times in 325 plate appearances this season, a 3.38 percent rate that would rate third-worst in the game among 150 qualifiers if converted to the major league level. He also strikes out a ton (83 whiffs already), and he is really going to need to improve upon that awful walk to strikeout ratio at the plate.
Then again, Ruiz – who is 33 – can probably play at least three or even four more years, and that should give time to allow Valle to improve his tools at the Triple-A level before he can work his way onto the major league team as the backup and eventual successor to Ruiz.
That is, if new prospect Joseph doesn’t beat him to the majors.