Friday, June 8, 2007
Q&A with Danny Valencia
Beloit Infield Prospect
Good morning! Well, by the time you read this, I will be headed out of town for a nice, long weekend. With the Top Prospects reports and the organizational reports and more, I need a few days. So, I will likely not have any new postings until next Wednesday or so. It would be great if someone would be willing to post some daily minor league highlights in the Comments section! I will try to keep up with the comments, and I will try to occasionally check e-mails, so please feel free to write. Today, I am still happy to bring you another Q&A with a top Twins prospect.
Danny Valencia signed with the Twins after the selected him in the 19th round of the 2006 draft out of the University of Miami. No one is real sure how Valencia fell this far in the draft. Here is what Twins Director of Scouting Mike Radcliff said in a Q&A here earlier this spring about it:
Every year there are some unexplainable draft situations. We are very fortunate to be able to add a player of Danny’s abilities in such a late round. Our scouts Hector Otero and Tim O’Neil deserve credit for staying with their convictions in Danny’s talents and eventual desire to sign a professional contract.
Valencia signed with the Twins quickly and reported to Elizabethton. There, he hit .311/.365/.505 with 21 extra base hits in 190 at bats. He started this season with Beloit in the Midwest League. He was just named to the league's All-Star team. Through Wednesday, Valencia was hitting .304/.381/.515 with 11 doubles, ten homers and 31 RBI. He is striking out a lot, but he is getting his walks too. He is starting off his career very well. I would like to see him advance to Ft. Myers soon as he is a very good defensive 3B as well. (If you would like, you can check out his career numbers here.)
If you would like to see what other Twins prospects I have had Q&As with, please be sure to check out a page I created with all of my Q&As. Today, I need to thank Danny Valencia for taking some of his time to answer questions for us! I really hope that you all enjoy the Q&As. If you have any comments for me or Mr. Valencia, please e-mail me, and I will try to answer your questions or forward them on to him and see if we can get you an answer. Also, leave Comments below if you would prefer.
Let the Questions Begin!
SethSpeaks: Growing up in Florida, who was your favorite team, and who were some of your favorite players to watch?
Danny Valencia: Ken Griffey Jr. I followed the Braves, and of course the Marlins when we got the team.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about your high school career, playing baseball in
Florida and some memories.
Danny Valencia: I was on very good travel teams and won many tournaments with some great players.
SethSpeaks: Did you play other sports? Were you heavily recruited out of high
Danny Valencia: I played basketball but concentrated on baseball by playing on travel teams since I was 8 years old. I was recruited by a lot of mid-conference schools & Wake Forest.
SethSpeaks: You went to The University of Miami. What was that experience like, playing at such a baseball powerhouse?
Danny Valencia: It was an awesome experience to play for one of the best programs in the country. It was also great to play close to home. I had a great time at Miami & we are all very close in touch with one another like family.
SethSpeaks: And then the Twins drafted you last summer in the 19th round. Had you talked to Twins' scouts much?
Danny Valencia: Not more than any of the other scouts.
SethSpeaks: Based on your numbers at Miami, it would appear that you should have been an early round pick. Obviously the Twins and their fans were thrilled to get you, but were you disappointed in being drafted that low? Did you get
Danny Valencia: I was surprised not being selected the first day since I had been told I would go earlier. No one is sure why but some thought I was going back for my senior year but I really wanted to play pro ball.
SethSpeaks: Do you intend to finish college? If you weren't playing pro baseball, what would your career of choice be?
Danny Valencia: Someday I hope to but right now all I want to focus on is baseball. I would like to play another sport like NFL quarterback if I didn't play baseball.
SethSpeaks: Who were some of the coaches or people that have helped you get to this point in your career?
Danny Valencia: My family have supported me and traveled with me to many tournaments and travel programs. Bob Molinaro, a former major leaguer and minor league coach has always been there for me throwing BP and teaching me about hitting.
SethSpeaks: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths, and what areas would you say you most have to improve upon?
Danny Valencia: I would say I am trying to be a power hitter who uses all fields. I have to work on being more patient at the plate.
SethSpeaks: You've already played some 1B and some 3B. Are you more comfortable at either position?
Danny Valencia: 3B is my primary position, but I can play all positions. I pitched, caught and have played all infield spots.
SethSpeaks: What was the adjustment to pro baseball like for you?
Danny Valencia: It was pretty easy. I prefer hitting with wood.
SethSpeaks: What are some of your initial thoughts on the Twins organization?
Danny Valencia: So far everyone has been good to work with.
SethSpeaks: What do you think of playing in such cold conditions as you have seen thus far this season?
Danny Valencia: The beginning of this season was really cold but its been comfortable now.
SethSpeaks: What is the best part, so far, about a career in baseball?
Danny Valencia: I'm getting paid to do what I love to do.
SethSpeaks: What is the most difficult part of life in baseball?
Danny Valencia: Some of the towns we are in are very small and there is not a lot of good meals. Also I miss seeing my family and friends, but I enjoy being with the guys and we have fun together..
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball movie?
Danny Valencia: I really liked Field of Dreams.
SethSpeaks: Favorite baseball book?
Danny Valencia: I have to say Don Mattingly's book, 'Hitting is Simple.' My picture is on page 32.
SethSpeaks: What were your goals heading into the 2007 season?
Danny Valencia: To be more consistent hitter and to show the Twins my skills playing full year ball.
SethSpeaks: What do you think it will be like to put on a big league uniform in a
regular season for the first time?
Danny Valencia: It would be very special. Its something I've been working very hard toward that goal.
SethSpeaks: Is there anything else that you would like to share with Twins fans
around the country about yourself?
Danny Valencia: I hope to play well and they enjoy watching me play. I have met many Twins fans at Ft. Myers, E-town, and Beloit and they have been really great!
Danny, thank you very much for taking so much of your time to answer these questions for me and the readers of this site. Obviously we hope you have a terrific season and continued success. Best wishes for a strong remainder of the 2007 campaign!
Do you have any thoughts or questions for Danny Valencia or me? If so, please feel free to e-mail me or leave a question or comment below.
If you would like to read any previous Q&A's, I have set up a new page that contains the links to all of them. Click here to see who all has done a Q&A with SethSpeaks.
That is it for today. I will be back tomorrow with more of my Top 50 Twins prospects. If you have any ideas for the site, people to try to get Q&As from, article concepts or more, please leave some Comments or send me an e-mail. I would appreciate your help. Have a terrific day!
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