We continue our look at how Brewers top prospects either fared in the first season back from the 2020 cancellation of the Minor League Baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic or how well they did during their first season in professional baseball.
Here is our review of the 2021 season for one of the Brewers’ top prospects, Felix Valerio.
Brewers Prospects Review: INF Felix Valerio, 21
The 5″7′, 165 pound right-handed infielder Felix Valerio was signed by the New York Mets out of the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2018. Valerio only played one season in the Mets farm system before he was traded to the Brewers during the 2018-19 offseason as part of a package for Keon Broxton.
The Brewers assigned Valerio to Rookie-Arizona where he appeared in 41 games, hitting a cool .306/.376/.389. He had a knack for getting on base as he got 48 hits, while smashing 13 doubles and drawing 17 walks. He also stole 16 bags and only got caught five times.
Due to the pandemic, Valerio didn’t have a chance to build on top of his success in 2020 delaying his progress for the season. The Brewers assigned Valerio to their Low-A team, the Carolina Mudcats, where he picked right back up where he left off. He found himself at home quickly as he was named Low-A East Player of the Month during the second month of the season while earning a spot on the Low-A East All-Star team.
While he appeared in 85 games he hit an impressive .314/.430/.469. He smashed six home runs, 24 doubles while driving in 54 RBIs during that time. He also stole 27 bags while only getting caught eight times, his speed helped hit for three triples as well. The Brewers promoted him to the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers mid-season where he joined a few other of the Brewers’ top prospects.
Adjustments are the name of the game when playing baseball so it’s quite understandable for Valerio to have struggled a little bit when he was promoted to High-A.
After finishing with 118 at-bats through 29 games, he finished with a .229/.321/.466 line, which is still a significant productive end to the season for the fact that he was promoted. During his last month, he quickly made an impact with his power as he smashed five homers and 13 doubles.
Although we didn’t see his speed on the base paths in Wisconsin as much as we did with him in Carolina, I have faith that he will be able to return to form when he starts the season in High-A. If he produces as he did in Low-A then I don’t see why he won’t be a Midwest League All-Star in 2022. I can also see a similar situation where he could be promoted to Double-A for the last month of the season, depending on performance.
Primarily a second baseman, Valerio played games at shortstop and third base. He was consistent throughout the season, even during his time in High-A. In his time at second base during the 2021 season, he finished with a .968 fielding percentage while only committing six errors all season. At shortstop, he finished with a .950 fielding percentage while committing three errors. Finally, at third base, he .912 fielding percentage and committed only three errors there as well.
MLB.com has him projected to arrive in 2023, but with the star-studded infield that the Brewers currently have, it’s tough to see where Valerio could fit in a year from now. But he hits for a high average, walks as much as he strikes out, if not even getting more walks than strikeouts, and showed some increased power in High-A.