We learned recently that Friday was the deadline for the Red Sox to receive the player to be named later they were to get from the Mets as part of the Andrew Benintendi trade. Ever since the deal originally went down over the offseason, we’ve been hearing vague whispers about these prospects being better than the typical players to be named later in trades. Now, we finally get a name to put to at least one of them. That name would be Freddy Valdez, a 19-year-old outfielder who comes over from the Mets system. Chad Jennings of The Athletic had the news first.
Source: The Red Sox are getting outfielder Freddy Valdez as the Mets PTBNL in the Benintendi trade.— Chad Jennings (@chadjennings22) June 4, 2021
Ranked No. 13 in the Mets system by Keith Law, who wrote, "His ultimate value will come down to his plus-plus raw power and whether he hits enough to get to it in games."
As Jennings notes, Valdez was ranked 13th in the Mets system by Keith Law. Additionally, the outfielder ranks 14th on MLB Pipeline, 17th on Baseball America, and 18th on FanGraphs. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic back in 2018 for a sizable $1.4 million bonus, and has one season of affiliated professional experience under his belt. That came in 2019, a season of which he spent most of his time in the Dominican Summer League, slashing .268/.358/.432 over 257 plate appearances. That was enough to get him a late-season promotion Stateside to the GCL, and he also participated in Fall Instructs that year.
Valdez doesn’t turn 20 until December of this year, so he is still quite raw and the scouting reports reflect that. That said, there are things to be excited about. The biggest calling card here seems to be his raw power, which Baseball America calls “plus-plus.” The young right-handed hitter has some troubles making contact, though, which in turn makes it tough for him to tap into that raw power on a regular basis. That sort of profile is becoming a bit of a theme in the Red Sox system. Defensively, Valdez by all accounts has an arm that could develop to be a plus tool, but his level of athleticism and instincts in the outfield will almost certainly keep him in the corners.
In all, this is not a blue chip prospect coming back to Boston, but it’s a good young player with real upside. They’ll have to work hard to get the most of this kind of player profile, but they’ve proven time and again they are good at getting the most out of position players. Expect him to spend this year on the complex in the GCL. We’ll have more in a couple days about where he ranks in the system after some time to learn more, but the first impression is solid, even with the questions.
Update (7:40 PM ET)
The Red Sox have also announced the prospects they will receive from the Royals to officially complete this trade. Boston will be getting a pair of right-handed pitchers in Luis De La Rosa and Grant Gambrell.
The #RedSox today acquired RHPs Luis De La Rosa and Grant Gambrell from the Kansas City Royals, as well as OF Freddy Valdez from the New York Mets, as the players to be named later in the trade that sent OF Andrew Benintendi to the Royals on February 10, 2021.— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 4, 2021
De La Rosa is an 18-year-old righty who turns 19 in about a month. He pitched in the DSL in 2019, putting up a 2.33 ERA over 38 2⁄3 innings with 52 strikeouts and seven walks. Gambrell, meanwhile, was the third round pick for the Royals back in 2019. The 23-year-old (he’ll be 23 all season) made five starts this year at High-A, pitching to a 4.37 ERA with 18 strikeouts and seven walks over 22 2⁄3 innings.
We’ll have more on the prospects later in the weekend.