Valera was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Monday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Valera finished with a solid .304 average and .725 OPS in 23 spring at-bats, but the Cardinals' infield is stacked with veterans and his chances were slim starting out. The 24-year-old raked at Triple-A Memphis in 2016 (.341/.417/.415 in 257 plate appearances) and has an intriguing profile as a utility infielder down the line.
Valera, who went 0-for-2 in Thursday's 3-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros, is hitting just .188 over his first 16 spring at-bats.
The 24-year-old second baseman was added to the 40-man roster after a spectacular 2016 campaign at Triple-A Memphis. He slashed .341/.417/.415 with 14 doubles, one triple, 31 RBI, 31 walks, 32 runs and eight stolen bases over 257 plate appearances, along with a .377 wOBA and minuscule 8.6 percent strikeout rate. However, he's found success this spring hard to come by thus far, albeit over a small sample. Valera offers next to nothing in the power department, but his elite contact rate -- one that's been at 90 percent or better in nine of 11 minor league stops -- and his above-average ability to get on base make him an intriguing prospect. He's very likely to head back down to Memphis to start 2017, but a reunion with the major league club later in the season is certainly a possibility if he continues to dominate at the minor league level.
Valera doesn't possess much power or speed, but his outstanding .341/.417/.415 slash line with Triple-A Memphis opened the eyes of the Cardinals front office. He's a long-shot to be on the major leagues roster, although this vote of confidence means he could head to St. Louis at some point in 2017.
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|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2011||R-Johnson City Cardina||19||73||16||29||4||1||0||8||5||9||7||5||.430||.479||.397|
|2014||AFA-Palm Beach Cardinals||73||294||35||98||8||4||0||37||25||13||13||10||.385||.388||.333|
|2015||AFA-Palm Beach Cardinals||14||51||9||18||3||1||0||7||11||2||0||3||.468||.451||.353|
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