For all 2016 Prospect Ranking Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out one a day over the offseason).

The 2015 season got out to a nice start for third baseman Gavin LaValley. In the first three games of the year he would go 1-3 in each game and hit two total doubles with two walks. After a slight slump where he’d go 0-9, he rebounded by going 5-11 with two walks, four runs and three RBI. The final 11 games of the month were a real struggle though as LaValley would hit just .189 in 45 plate appearances. That would lead to a month with a .227/.363/.303 line to go along with 13 walks and 24 strikeouts over 80 plate appearances. The walk rate was strong, but the strikeout rate was very high and the power didn’t show up in the month.

The slump the ended April continued into May. In the first week of the month LaValley would hit just .185 and he wouldn’t draw a walk. The second week was a slight improvement, but was still a struggle as he went 5-23 (.217 average). Things weren’t much better in the second half of the month as the third baseman would hit .241/.290/.276 in 62 plate appearances. The overall struggles of May led to a .222/.271/.287 line with six walks and 33 strikeouts. The high strikeout rate remained, there wasn’t much power output and the high walk rate disappeared as well.

June couldn’t have gotten out to much better of a start for the 20-year-old. In his first nine games he would go 17-36 (.472) with six extra-base hits and two walks. He would miss a week after that and go 0-3 with two walks in his return game on the 18th. Things then picked up right where he left off. In the final nine games of the month he would hit .341 with six extra-base hits. After two months of struggles it seemed that the warmth of June was what LaValley needed to get things going in the right direction as he would hit .388/.437/.600 with six walks and 15 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances. His walk rate rebounded, his strikeout rate plunged and he began to show plenty of power.

When the calendar flipped to July things slowed down some. Over the first two weeks of the month the third baseman would hit .256/.407/.326 with nine walks and just four strikeouts in 54 plate appearances. The second half of the month was a real struggle though as LaValley would go 11-58 (.190) with just one extra-base hit, six walks and 16 strikeouts. After a strong June, July was a step backwards at the plate for LaValley, who would hit .218/.328/.257 on the month in 119 plate appearances with 15 walks and 20 strikeouts. He showed a strong walk rate and a quality strikeout rate, but his power he showed off in June disappeared and when he made contact, the ball simply wasn’t finding the grass.

The first two weeks of August continued the struggles from July. LaValley would hit just .233/.277/.279 in 47 plate appearances. Over the final three weeks of the season he would pick up the pace and go on a nice run. With 23 hits, including six extra-base hits and seven walks he would post a .324/.392/.437 line in 79 plate appearances. In the final five week stretch, concluding after a week in September, LaValley would hit .289/.349/.377 with 10 walks and 22 strikeouts over 126 plate appearances.

After a really slow start to the season, Gavin LaValley would rebound – though he would struggle with consistency at times. The third baseman showed big improvements in cutting down on his strikeout rate as the season progressed and improved his walk rate at the same time. He didn’t show off too much power over the season, hitting just four home runs over 125 games.

PA 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB K AVG OBP SLG
530 29 1 4 53 4 50 114 .267 .343 .358

Scouting Report

[private_subscriber]

Hitting | LaValley was known more for his power coming into the 2015 season, but it was his hit tool that was the better of the two, particularly in the second half. He can and does use the entire field well.

Power | While the power output wasn’t there so much in 2015, LaValley still shows enough raw power to hit for 15-20 home runs. Some scouts believe that his weight loss has sapped him of his power potential that was once believed to be in the 25-30 home run range.

Running | Dropping a lot of weight over the last two-and-a-half years has really helped LaValley pick up some speed, but he’s still a below-average runner.

Arm | He’s got average arm strength, but it’s good enough to play at third base.

Defense | LaValley made big strides in 2015 with his defense. Coming into the season reports suggested he wasn’t going to stick at third base in all likelihood and would slide over to first, but he showed enough improvements that there is a reasonable belief he can remain at third. He will need to continue to make improvements, but 2015 was a big step in the right direction and if things pan out he profiles to be an average defender at third.

The player that was expected and the player that played in 2015 were not exactly the same. LaValley was supposed to be a power hitting first baseman who was being played at third base and was overmatched defensively at the position. Outside of one month, that power never really showed up. What did show up was a much better defender than was advertised, probably due in some part to the better conditioning of his body. At one point in high school he was nearing 300 lbs, but when the season ended he was around 210. That weight loss has probably cost him some power in the long run, but it’s also helped him improve in nearly every other aspect of his game. His swing got shorter as the season went along and it helped cut down on his high strikeout rate he showed through May, nearly cutting it in half over the final three months of the season.

Spray Chart

To Total % 1B 2B 3B HR AVG SLG IsoP
P 14 3.9% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
C 1 0.3% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
1B 21 5.8% 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
2B 18 5.0% 1 0 0 0 .056 .056 .000
3B 38 10.6% 4 0 0 0 .105 .105 .000
SS 56 15.6% 2 0 0 0 .036 .036 .000
LF 55 15.3% 29 11 0 2 .764 1.073 .309
CF 79 22.0% 27 8 1 1 .487 .658 .171
RF 77 21.4% 28 10 0 1 .513 .684 .171

[/private_subscriber]

21 Responses

  1. dale

    It would be nice to have some more pop in his bat but that OBP is pretty good, at least that is encouraging. That will be what I am looking at in 2016.

  2. The Duke

    If he lost power losing weight, then that is a major indictment of the Reds strength and conditioning and nutritional programs in the minor leagues.

    • Doug Gray

      Not exactly. Mass matters. I’m interested to see how his body develops over the next year or two, given he can focus more on building muscle than slimming down some.

    • CoachD178

      Not really accurate. He’s just 20 years. A lot of time with young athletes, and this happens in football all the time, you have to take a few steps back to take steps forward. So if you have a player who is out of shape and heavy, your first goal is to get the weight down and then work on building up the right kind of weight. In football you can do both much more so than in baseball IMO.

      LaValley was definitely top heavy coming out of high school and as a rookie, so getting the weight in check would have been important. That requires not just the S&C program, but getting him to be more disciplined with how he eats. Not always easy for a minor leaguer. Once that happens the emphasis on building up strength and power will take even greater hold.

      Now I’m not saying you are wrong and the Reds S&C program is top notch. I’m just saying in this case him losing weight and power in a year does not necessarily indict the S&C program.

      My 2 cents.

  3. Scott in Upstate NY

    Rosenthal reporting a deal is in place sending Chapman to Dodgers for a pair of unnamed prospects. Rosenthal doesn’t believe it would include any of the Dodgers top three prospects. He further says Dodgers plan to keep their current closer, and use them together to strengthen the back end.

    • DanD

      Hopefully the Reds received two of these three: Holmes, Verdugo and Schebler. I hope its not Peraza, I believe Blandino will be the replacement for Phillips. Just IMO.

      • sultan of swaff

        Agreed. While we need a CF, we don’t want Peraza. The dodgers need pitching. For goodness sake, add one of our prospects to the deal and get a legit CF. A package like that would entice more than what Chappy would bring, and not just from the Dodgers.

      • Kevin

        Pass on Schebler. Holmes and Verdugo would be a good haul though.

      • Jer-B

        Has to be 2 of Holmes, Peraza and Verdugo. Report says that Peraza was discussed.

    • Scott from Upstate NY

      The question I want the Reds beat writers to ask Walt: “Did you receive more than what you could have received at the 2015 July trade deadline?” You would think his value would have been greater with the potential of a buying team having him pitch in the 2015 & 2016 pennant races.

  4. MK

    The loss of power in July was the result of a leg injury. For much oh the month his thigh was black from hip to knee to the point where he was wearing a football thigh pad to protect it.

  5. Kevin

    A tale of two approaches:

    For his 5 season minor league career, Jose Peraza has taken as many walks as Joey Votto had for the 2015 season… on August 22nd.

  6. Kevin

    Multiple teams now involved. How about this?

    Dodgers get:
    Jose Fernandez

    Reds get:
    Vergudo and Peraza

    Marlins get:
    Yasiel Puig
    Aroldis Chapman
    A Cuban sandwich
    Renamed the Miami Cubans

  7. mj

    1st off id like to take the time and thank good old walt he took the over after krivsky done an awsesome job of drafting and building a great young nucleus took all the credit for the following results and tore the whole thing up draft results not nearly as good signing everybody to cartoon money and years and never worring about the bench,depth or middle relief and maybe his biggest bundle boston offered a gold mine now chapman is worth a quarter on the dollar