It is almost fitting that the Wilson Valdez review would come on Halloween. Valdez dressed up all season for the Phillies wearing a lot of different hats. In one way or another Valdez saw action in over two-thirds of the Phillies games this year. He started 59 games at shortstop, 42 at second and eight at third with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Placido Polanco all seeing time on the DL.
It really is amazing to think back and Valdez was just a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He had major league experience and could play a lot of different positions so it seemed plausible the Phillies could hold onto his services. And when Rollins went on the DL just the second week of the season, those services were needed.
Now at the end of the season, Valdez was Mr. Everything for the Phillies. No one expected Valdez to come in and hit .300 and 20 home runs. We all know that did not happen. Before this season, Valdez never hit over .256 and never amassed 150 at bats in a season. The Phillies asked Valdez to swing the bat over 300 times and play three different positions. He responded with a line of .258/.306/.360/.667.
As a fan of Valdez and his bleached blonde goatee, I was very impressed with his defensive consistency throughout the year. He had over 400 chances in 108 games, and Valdez committed only three errors. One of the big things throughout the season was Valdez’s ability to hit into double plays (20), but on the other side he was involved in turning 55 of his own in the field.
When looking at Valdez’s value compared to other replacements he was above average in my opinion. His WAR was not that high at 1.7 but when you think about a standard starter having a WAR of +2, Valdez definitely filled in beautifully. In all the categories for numbers above replacement Valdez had positive numbers. So it could have been worse.
When you insert a guy like Valdez in a lineup with the likes of Ryan Howard, Jasyon Werth and Utley it is easy to say he is an inferior player. The Phillies knew there was no way he was going to go in and put up numbers similar to those he was replacing. And that is not what he was brought in to do. So with that said, my grade for him might be a little higher than a lot of people expected but I am extremely happy with the way he came off the bench and performed. Personally, I hope he is on the bench again next season.
KIERAN’S GRADE: 7.1/10
PAT’S GRADE: 6.4/10 – Valdez was a great fill-in for the better part of the season at multiple positions. He stepped up when needed, however I graded him slightly lower because of the 275 double-plays.
PAUL’S GRADE: 6.0/10 – His defense proved to be better than a lot of people were expecting (mostly, I’m sure, because no one knew what to really expect), but to grade a .258/.306/.360 line in 363 PA on the same level as Utley and Howard would just be silly. Nice season, Wilson, but you’re still a backup.