The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)
Home: Montelban, Venezuela
Selected 2013 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (26): Ranked at #19 last year in our overall top 40, Breyvic Valera falls all the way down to #31 this year. But he was still ranked at #26 as voted by the community.
All Valera has done since entering the Cardinals organization is hit above .300. In 2013, he accomplished that feat yet again from both sides of the plate. There is no question about Valera's hit tool given his career average of .313, but the likely reason he fell was because his inability to develop or hit for any power last year with Peoria.
Though, he is still young at 21 years of age (August birthday) and has plenty of room left to fill out of his thin physique to at least develop a little pop. On the bright side, in 2013 Valera did manage to become a more patient hitter than ever, walking more than he did in any one season prior.
Valera is still mentioned as being one of the fastest players in all of the minor leagues, as well. But that burning speed has not played particularly well in his attempting to steal bags (13 of 20 in 2013). He might struggle to get a good read on a pitcher before taking the extra base. That's something that can be taught and just takes reps and more reps.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals played Valera in the outfield a lot in 2013 partly to increase his versatility around the field in order to get the most out of his value. As many may know, he is a plus defender at second base already, and plays shortstop adequately. As he adds some strength and gains more experience as a pro, Valera could grow into a valuable utilityman in the big leagues, given the lack of home run power.
2014 will surely be an interesting season for Valera as I could see the organization sending him to Springfield to see what they have in him for the future. - DTFlush234
Brian Walton (37): I have seen Valera play multiple times over the years and perhaps I am not giving him his full due by dropping him down to number 37. While there are no gaping holes in his game obvious to me other than a lack of power, I also have never been wowed by any single part of it.
There is still time for the 160-pounder to put on muscle mass, but Valera is thin enough that he almost looks frail to me. In fairness, he seemed to deal with the longer grind in his initial year of full-season ball, batting .327 after August 1. The recognition was there for his strong first-half as well, as he was selected to be a mid-season Midwest League All-Star.
At the plate, Valera made progress in his selectivity, increasing his walk rate and cutting his strikeout rate. The improvement was to the point that he walked more, 40, than he struck out, 30. That is a very nice development. In fact, Valera's strikeout rate of just 5.8 percent was best in the entire system.
On the down side, I continue to worry that Valera could be overpowered by better pitching up the line. There is no doubt he performed at a high level again in 2013, but I would still like to see more power develop from his bat. I am not counting on it coming, however. I wonder if the Cardinals feel the same way.
Though Valera was named as an all-star second baseman, his usage as the season progressed makes it clear that the organization is grooming him as a utilityman. He made at least seven starts at five different positions in the field for Peoria, not including designated hitter.
In winter ball back home in Venezuela, Valera has moved up to the higher level of play against more advanced competition this year. He has been playing in the outfield with a batting average around .275 and an OPS in the .700 range.
I am not down on Valera, but I have an eye on the competition as well as the future. Utility men are important in the majors as well, but seeing Valera moved to that role in A-ball plants the seed that he could later be squeezed out by others. Three levels remain ahead for him to master before reaching the majors.
Since the organization did not give Valera even a taste of the Florida State League in 2013, that seems to be his likely destination to open 2014. At this point, his age remains a benefit.
Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters’ philosophies in making their selections.
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