Valencia Versus Price | The Process Report

Valencia Versus Price

Prior to Monday night’s game against the Rays, the Orioles made a rather innocuous roster move. Baltimore optioned right-handed pitcher Josh Stinson and recalled infielder Danny Valencia. It marked Valencia’s fourth stint with the club this year.

A below average hitter througout his career, Valencia entered the game hitting .216 this season in limited duty. At one point in the season he went 22 at-bats without a hit. He has shown more pop this year, but we are still talking about a reserve player. Despite the innocent appearance of the move, the timing of Valencia’s callup was strategic.

Baseball is full of oddities. Sometimes mediocre players have great days. And sometimes they happen to have those great days against great players. In Valencia’s case, he has had mutiple great days at the expense of Rays’ starter David Price, who toed the rubber on Monday night.

As a right-handed batter, Valencia shows true platoon splits. He has a career ops of .836 against southpaws with a .628 ops against fellow righties. So at least part of the equation is Price’s left arm. That said, there is something a bit more about Price that gets Valencia going.

In 15 plate appearances against Price, Valencia has reached base 12 times. He has nine hits although he has never taken him deep. Price has attacked Valencia mostly with fastballs in the zone – as he should attack almost every below-average hitter. Valencia has attacked back line drive base hits. In Monday’s game, he went 2-2 with a questionable walk in their third encounter.

What this tells us going forward is very little. Individual match ups hold little – if any – predictive value. This is  especially so in smaller selections like the one we have here. Just because Valencia has had success against Price in 15 plate appearances does not mean Price will not retire him in order over the next 15. If nothing else, it will provide Valencia great stories to tell his grandchildren in 30 years.

A long time ago we wondered what Willy Aybar knew about Zack Grienke. Whatever Valencia knows about Price, let’s keep it to himself; and the grand kids, of course.

Data and visuals courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info.

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