FanPost

Free Danny Valencia

This is just a quick rant. I just don't get why Danny Valencia is not starting. He's done everything the team could want in his limited playing time this year. He's reached base in all but two games he's started. He's made one error (when he threw a sinker to Michael Cuddyer at first and Cuddyer couldn't handle it). He's hit in the clutch. He's hit both right-handed and left handed pitchers. (By the numbers, he's actually hitting better against right-handed pitching.)

Meanwhile, Nick Punto continues his mediocre play. He sometimes makes spectacular defensive plays. But his defensive skills don't make up for his offensive deficiencies relative to Valencia. And he doesn't do the "little things" well. For example, the other night, he got doubled off first on a lazy fly ball to center. He later missed a sign on a hit-and-run play that should have resulted in J.J. Hardy getting thrown out. He also had a chance for an infield hit but insisted on diving into first. On the replay, diving slowed him down by about the difference in the play.That's three stupid plays in one game. Did he get benched for it? No. He was starting the next day.

By the numbers

Season OPS: Valencia .767  Punto: .617

Last 28 days OPS: Valencia .891  Punto: .421

The clincher, for me, is that Gardy brings Valencia in as a pinch hitter late in the game when the Twins are behind. This is the opposite of what you should do. If one player is obviously the better hitter and the other is the better fielder, you start the better hitter and bring in the defensive player late in the game with the lead. Gardy's insistence on using Punto over Valencia as the starter has to stop.

Not only is it hurting the Twins this year, it will hurt the Twins next year. Presumably, Valencia will be the starter next year when the Twins can't afford to pick up Punto's option. The more playing time Valencia gets now will only help his development. Sitting him five games a week is not doing anything good for his development.

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