Wilson Valdez: In play, outs

A common sighting during games in which Wilson Valdez plays:

That was Valdez’s 16th ground ball double play this season in 277 at-bats, a rate of about six percent. From May 6-10, Valdez grounded into a double play in five straight games. To his credit, though, he hadn’t grounded into one in his last 75 plate appearances. From May 6 to July 22, Valdez’s GIDP rate was at eight percent.

Just how high is that rate? Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index, I searched every player-season since 1996 where a player accrued at least 275 PA and grounded into at least 16 double plays, then figured the rate for each of them. 33 players finished with a GIDP rate at 4.5 percent or higher and only six at 5.5 percent. Valdez’s 5.8 percent is the fourth-highest rate in this span of time.

Player GIDP PA GIDP/PA Year Team
Ivan Rodriguez 21 330 6.4% 2010 WSN
Brad Ausmus 30 496 6.0% 2002 HOU
Ron Coomer 23 386 6.0% 2001 CHC
Wilson Valdez 16 277 5.8% 2010 PHI
Kevin Frandsen 17 296 5.7% 2007 SFG
Paul Konerko 28 495 5.7% 2003 CHW

Overall, though, Valdez has been as advertised. He has a career .260 wOBA and sat at .275 for the season entering today’s series finale against the Washington Nationals. Defensively, UZR/150 graded him as significantly above-average at second base, third base, and shortstop. Given injuries to Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Placido Polanco, Valdez has had to fill in at all three positions. In extremely small samples — 292 innings at second, 24 at third, and 303 at shortstop — his defense has lived up to expectations with respective UZR/150 marks of 2.5, 9.2, and 2.9.

He’s no Omar Infante but he’s been worth the Minor League contract to which the Phillies signed him during the off-season. His ubiquitous replacement-level production may earn him a one-year Major League contract for 2011.