- Full name Breyvic Jose Valera
- Born 01/08/1992 in Montalban, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 190 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- Debut 09/05/2017
Organization Prospect Rankings
Perhaps because he's spent parts of four seasons at Double-A Springfield and seemed to bump his head against a ceiling there, some prospect fatigue set in for Valera. He moved around the infield as much as he didn't move up in the system, all despite a steady, switch-hitting bat that in 2,524 minor-league at-bats has a .302/.358/.375 slash line. When the Cardinals faced the prospect of losing him as a six-year free agent they rushed to add him to the 40-man roster. General manager John Mozeliak said the team saw "a maturing curve" with Valera in 2016 and became convinced that no other player on the open market was "an elite performer" like him. Valera isn't flashy or toolsy. What he is is baseball smart and compellingly average at everything. He's a patient singles hitter who is savvy running the bases if not stealing them. Primarily a second baseman as he advanced, Valera has sneaky range, good hands and excellent instincts. He can play third, handle shortstop, and doesn't look out of place in the outfield. Bumped to Triple-A for the first time in 2016, Valera thrived with a .832 OPS in half a season and had more walks (31) than strikeouts (22). He was thriving in winter ball in Venezuela, even hitting six homers in his first 185 at-bats. That has the Cardinals thinking that Valera, after years of seasoning, is poised to contribute to the majors as a utility infielder.
Valera, who joined Double-A Springfield in late June, actually made his Double-A debut two years earlier as a 19-year-old brought up from the short-season New York-Penn League in order to cover for Futures Game-bound Kolten Wong. Valera isn't flashy or overly muscular, but coaches suspect his baseball smarts will make up for both. He struck out just 6.1 percent of the time in 2014, and just two qualified minor league batters struck out less frequently. When he connects, Valera gets enough loft to lift singles over the infield--55 of his 65 Double-A Springfield hits were singles--and shows patience by drawing walks. Defensively, he mainly plays second base, where he shows nice range, soft hands, instincts and hangs in on the pivot. He can play third base and the outfield in a pinch but needs seasoning at both. Scouts see him as a big league utility infielder at best, but he'll need to enhance his bunting to stick as a National League bench player. Valera, who signed for $1,000 out of Venezuela at age 18, wasn't added to the 40-man roster and slipped through the Rule 5 draft unselected. He should return to Springfield to begin 2015.
Minor League Top Prospects
Valera hit .397 in 73 Appalachian League at-bats in his 2011 U.S. debut, and he continued to thrive in the NY-P. He didn't turn 20 until Aug. 1, but he played with a maturity well above his years. "I liked him a ton," Auburn manager Gary Cathcart said. "There is no heartbeat. He just plays under so control, it's almost effortless. He hits righthanded, lefthanded, plays second base, shortstop. He has a tremendous clock in his head on defense and he can run. He was the one guy in our division that looked to me like you could have put him in Triple-A this year and it wouldn't have bothered him a bit." Valera handles the bat very well from both sides, hitting .292 against righties and blitzing lefties to the tune of .411 this summer. He has a natural ability to square up hard liners into the gaps and he has good pitch recognition. He lacks home run power, but he profiles as a tablesetter with solid to plus speed. He's an instinctive defender who takes good angles and has smooth actions. He has an average arm for second base, and he filled in adequately at shortstop when Alex Mejia got hurt late in the summer. As he adds some strength and gains more experience, Valera could grow into an everyday second baseman or a valuable utilityman in the big leagues.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 2B in the Florida State League in 2014