SEBASTIAN VALLE, CATCHER
Born: July 24, 1990
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2006 (Phillies)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Country: Mexico
Agents: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Valle for several years was rated as one of the Phillies’ top prospects.  He’s a solid all-around defensive catcher with a 30% CS% in the minors.  He has above-average raw power, thanks to impressive bat speed, but he overswings and controls the strike zone poorly, habits that caught up to him in the upper minors.  The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal for 2015.

2007
DSL:  284/398/403, 176 AB, 13 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 29 BB, 26 K, 4-8 SB

Valle hit very well for a 16-year-old in his DSL debut, including more walks than strikeouts.

2008
R:  281/341/407, 167 AB, 15 2B, 2 HR, 12 BB, 31 K

In the GCL, Valle had almost exactly the same offensive season as the year before, except for a sharp drop in his walk rate that, unfortunately, proved to be permanent.

2009
A-:  307/335/531, 192 AB, 15 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 10 BB, 41 K
A:  223/313/331, 157 AB, 12 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 16 BB, 37 K, 1-3 SB

The Phillies sent Valle to low A to start the season and he struggled there.  In late June, they sent him down to the NYPL and he hit for average and power there, but with a low walk rate.  After the season, Baseball America rated him the Phillies’ 7th best prospect.

2010
A:  255/298/430, 447 AB, 28 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 27 BB, 101 K, 3-5 SB

Valle handled low A much better than the previous year, but continued to post poor walk and K numbers.  He did show solid power.  After the season, BA ranked him sixth in the Phillies’ system.

2011
A+:  284/312/394, 348 AB, 19 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 13 BB, 84 K

Valle’s power dropped off from the previous year.  Some of that may have been the Florida State League, but some may have been his worsening BB:K numbers.  BA moved him up to third in the Phillies’ system and he was added to the 40-man roster.

2012
AA:  261/280/435, 310 AB, 13 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 11 BB, 83 K, 0-2 SB
AAA:  218/232/387, 78 AB, 2 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB, 31 K, 0-1

Valle’s power came back in AA, but his plate discipline continued to go south.  He got a late-season promotion to AAA, where he struggled to make much contact.

2013
AA:  203/245/359, 354 AB, 15 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 19 BB, 88 K, 1-2 SB

The Phillies sent Valle back to AA and he struggled all year, hitting little apart from the occasional longball.  The team outrighted him to AAA after the season.

2014
AA:  257/286/319, 113 AB, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 BB, 19 K
AAA:  220/241/370, 127 AB, 7 2B, 4 HR, 4 BB, 33 K

Valle split his time evenly between AA and AAA, and played only part-time at both levels.  He evidently fell behind Cameron Rupp on the depth chart.  He continued to struggle at the plate, but had his best year throwing out base stealers, with a 48% CS% between the two levels.

2015
AA:  279/341/413, 247 AB, 21 2B, 4 HR, 22 BB, 56 K, 1-3 SB

With Carlos Paulino gone as a minor league free agent, the Pirates needed an upper level organizational catcher.  Valle split the catching duties at Altoona with Jacob Stallings.  He had a solid season at the plate, probably helped by the fact that he greatly increased his walk rate.  Of course, it has to be taken into account that he was moving down a level.  He threw out 31% of base stealers and committed only one passed ball.

Valle will be a free agent unless the Pirates add him to the roster.  It’s not completely out of the question, especially given that he’d still have an option left.  He’ll play the first half of 2016 at age 25 and catchers often develop more slowly that other position players, so he might be a good depth option with some upside.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $30,000
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: November 18, 2011 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED:  2013, 2014)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
October 10, 2006: Signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an international free agent.
November 18, 2011: Contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies.
December 18, 2013: Designated for assignment by the Philadelphia Phillies; outrighted to AAA on December 20.
November 4, 2014: Became a free agent.
November 21, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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