NICK VALAIKA, SHORTSTOP
|Born: December 7, 1995
Drafted: 24th Round, 718th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Valaika is the brother of Rockies infielder Pat Valaika, who also went to UCLA. They both attended Hart HS, which produced Tyler Glasnow and Bob Walk, among notable alumni. Nick suffered a season-ending hand injury in 2017, which limited him to just 21 games. He redshirted in 2016 and played just 11 games in 2015, so he has surprisingly limited experience. He played in a wood bat summer league after his 2015 season and struggled. Coming out of high school in 2014, he was rated 349th in Baseball America’s top 500, but he did not make the list in 2017. The Pirates drafted four college junior shortstops in rounds 21-24 and, surprisingly, signed all of them, including Valaika.
At Bristol, Valaika shared second base duties with Luis Perez, while also playing a handful of games at short. He struggled badly at the plate, striking out in a third of his ABs while not hitting for much power. He also had problems defensively, with a .910 fielding percentage at second, which is terrible even for the low minors.
Valaika served as a utility player at Morgantown, getting only limited playing time. He appeared at first, second and third, and served as DH in a few games. Other than showing just a little power, he had trouble at the plate. In fact, he had a really bad time making contact.
Valaika isn’t very experienced, but it’s doubtful how much playing time should go to a player striking out in nearly half his plate appearances.
|2019: Minor league contract
MiLB Debut: 2017
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2020
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 14, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 24th round, 718th overall pick; signed on June 20.|