Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Life and Times of Nick Valentine

Nick Valentine has been one of the "most traded" players in this world so far. He has been with 7 teams in 5 seasons. He was traded from Fargo to Pawtucket along with Tori Blair. In exchange Fargo got Ted Covleski and Buzz Kreuter. Buzz was hitting .324 in 24 games in Pawtucket's AAA system before moving to Fargo. He continued his progression in Fargo, as he hit .273 with 27 homers and drove in 86 runs in just 94 games. It was quite an adjustment for Kreuter, as he is from the suburbs of Nashville,TN. Once he got used to the cold weather , he was fine. Ted Covleski on the other hand was different. Ted was 4-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 8 games for Pawtucket before being traded. He had 2 complete games, and was asserting himself as a good pitcher. Ted was shocked he was traded, and he wrote obscene gestures on the Pawtucket locker room wall before he left. Ted moved to Fargo where he continued to pitch well. In 20 games, he was 9-7 with a 5.07 ERA . He also had 2 complete games for Fargo. He spent 3 more full season in Fargo before he was traded to Cleveland. He went 42-28 with 15 complete games in his 3 following seasons in Fargo.

Tori Blair was acquired with Nick Valentine. Tori was 7-1 with a 2.86 ERA for Fargo's AAA team before he was traded to Pawtucket. Like many others who have come through the swinging door, Tori did not like the move. He was promoted to the ML with Pawtucket. You would think the promotion would have motivated him, but his 5-11 record, near 8 ERA, and his lack of communication with his team mates showed a different story. Tori was trade before the beginning of the next season to Wichita. The following season he went 14-15 with a ERA near 5. After that he has had a short stint in the ML with Louisville, where he went 1-6 . The last 2 seasons he has been in the minors, and it looks like he may end his career there.

The Next trade saw Nick Valentine , along with Darrell Wright traded to back to Fargo. In exchange the Augusta Angry Armadillo's ( formerly Pawtucket) got Pinky Matheson and A.J. Jensen. Darrell Wright was scouted to be a very good ML pitcher for the future. He had great control, stamina, and 5 pitches when scouted by Fargo's scouts. They were wrong. Wright has not had great success in Fargo. In his first season, he went 10-12 with a 5.23 ERA. Since than he has spent time in AAA and the ML for Fargo and Cleveland. He went 4-11 with Cleveland last season, thus almost writing the book on his ML career. Nobody knows why he has not come close to the projections the scouts have laid on him.
We thought he was coming around 2 seasons ago, when he went 12-13 with an ERA just under 5 for Fargo, but after the trade to Cleveland he just took a nose dive. An ERA over 7 for Cleveland has not set good on the fans there.

A.J. Jensen was a different story, with the same ending. He was scouted a future gold glove winner, with very good power, and a good batting eye. After being traded to Augusta, he has not done anything to make the scouts proud. He hit .278 in his first season in Augusta. In AAA he had 42 doubles, 16 homers, 18 stolen bases before he was promoted to the ML. Things looked great for A.J. To this point. He hit .500 in his short stint in the ML for Augusta. In 8 games, he ahd 5 homers, 13 RBI'S and 3 stolen bases . The next season he was sent down to AAA to work on his defense. Well something went wrong, as he has never recovered from that demotion. He hit .229 in 88 games in AAA, where his numbers were not even close to the season before. This prompted him to be traded to Boise. He managed to hit.243 with 15 homers , in 71 games for Boise. The next 2 seasons saw him in L.A., where he hit .201 and .243 in full seasons there. The power has never been the same, nor the extra base hits.

By far the best part of the deal was Pinky Matheson. Pinky was a top pitcher for Augusta,Philly,and St.Louis. They were all the franchise, just moved around over and over. No matter where he was, Pinky won over the fans with his "bull dog" pitching. He pitched 252 innings his first year, and 241 the second for the system. Pinky was a rock, where there was no pebbles to surround him at the time. His first year he went 18-11, second 18-9. His ERA dropped almost 1 run from the first year to the second. After going 5-6 in his 3rd season, he was than traded to Memphis. I t looks like Memphis is his home, as he has gone 22-10 there in just over 1 1/2 seasons. His biggest disappointment was getting injured in the playoffs, thus ending Memphis's chance of advancing past Sacramento in the conference finals. He will still be a huge part of Memphis's success in the future.

Well Nick Valentine last 2 days in Fargo, before he was shipped out again. This time he was headed for Sioux Falls. He was sent along with Felipe Rodriguez for Chris Collins and Jeffrey Bates. Felipe Rodriguez spent 64 games in Sioux Falls before he was traded to Florida. After 1 season in Florida,he was than again traded, this time to Memphis. Memphis is known for being the home of the blues, but it has been anything but blue for Pinky and Felipe. Felipe has had 1 1/2 solid seasons in Memphis to this point. His only all star appearance came for Florida. Jeffrey Bates had 3 decent seasons in Fargo after the trade from Sioux Falls. He was later traded to Cleveland, where he also performed well last season. He won a gold glove in season 3 for Fargo, and his future still has promise in it. Fargo also received Chris Collins in the deal. Collins was scouted to be a very good ML, who can with 15-17 games on a regular basis. The Fargo scouts must be drinking the same water as the scouts for Phillyfan. Collins has had decent season in the ML, but nothing more to write home about. After 2 9-6 season's with Fargo, he excelled to 13-10 the following season. He was than traded in mid season to Cleveland . He went a combined 11-6 for the 2 teams, and still has the promise to shine . He is only 25, and if given the chance, and the run support, he will be a good pitcher for season to come.

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