Red Sox Prospect Outlook: Can Enmanuel Valdez Reward Christian Vázquez Trade?

Valdez hasn't been in the Boston system very long


Feb 10, 2023

Before the start of the 2023 season, is evaluating several noteworthy prospects in the Boston Red Sox organization, using insight and analysis from industry experts to gauge each player’s outlook for the upcoming campaign. Next up: Enmanuel Valdez.

Enmanuel Valdez is new to the Red Sox system, but various factors stemming from Boston’s offseason could force him into contributing sooner rather than later.

Valdez’s status as a middle infielder, albeit one who’s sometimes shaky with the glove, could thrust him onto the Red Sox’s active roster at some point in 2023.

The physical build, lack of defensive identity and advanced numbers are cause for concern in the long term, but there is one thing for sure about Valdez: The guy hammers the baseball.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 24-year-old, whom the Red Sox acquired from the Houston Astros last season.

Boston Red Sox prospect Enmanuel Valdez

Valdez’s story
Valdez is a native of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, entering pro ball in July 2015 with the Astros. At 5-foot-9, 190 pounds, his frame isn’t one to strike fear in the eyes of opponents, but Valdez has consistently put together productive seasons throughout his seven seasons of professional baseball.

The Red Sox acquired Valdez in a 2022 deadline-day trade, swapping former World Series champion Christian Vázquez for then-Astros prospects Valdez and Wilyer Abreu.

Valdez signed with Houston as a highly touted prospect, earning a $450,000 signing bonus in 2015. It took some time for the Dominican native to break out, never cracking the MLB top 100 prospect list before being selected to the Red Sox’s 40-man roster in November 2022.

Boston Red Sox prospect Enmanuel Valdez

Scouting report
Valdez already has the hard part of baseball figured out. His development is just dependent on whether he can improve on the little things.

“He kind of just goes up to the plate and hits,” Ian Cundall, director of scouting for, recently told “When he makes contact, he hits the ball very hard and he hits it hard consistently. He definitely has an idea at the plate. There are other times where he’ll be over exuberant and get himself out. He definitely needs to take a step forward, and offensively, it needs to come in quality of at-bats. He needs to get better at not chasing secondary pitches, not chasing outside of the zone, and making more consistent contact on pitches in the zone.”

Valdez played 126 games across Double-A and Triple-A in 2022, finishing the season with a .918 OPS, 28 home runs and 107 RBIs.

So, what position does he play? Well, no one really knows.

“The big question for me is on defense,” Cundall said. “I’m not sure what his best defensive position is. Having seen him at second base, it’s not very natural.”

Valdez progressed through the minors as a second baseman, but he bounced around after the Red Sox acquired him last summer. Valdez played second base, third base and both corner-outfield spots. Finding a way to mask his defense at the next level could postpone his MLB debut. Starting 2023 with Triple-A Worcester should allow him to work at building enough trust with his coaches to make the eventual jump.

“He kind of just goes up to the plate and hits.”

Ian Cundall, director of scouting for, on Enmanuel Valdez

Most-likely outcome: Emergency utility player.

The issue with Valdez’s projection as a hitter comes in his dramatic platoon splits. A much better hitter when facing right-handed pitchers, the 24-year-old projects as a below-average bat against lefties. For a player who already struggles in one major area of the game (defense), limiting production in his best area spells bad news for his overall potential.

There is a limited ceiling for Valdez, though he could progress into becoming an everyday player.

Best-case scenario: Everyday utility player.

The path to this outcome is simple: Valdez will just need to find a home at one of the many positions he will be asked to play in 2023. Even average defense will put Valdez in contention for a more permanent spot on a major league roster.

SoxProspects ranking: No. 17

Valdez is about where everyone expected him to be when entering the Red Sox system. While the likes of Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas and Nick Yorke have battled for the No. 1 spot as former first-round picks, Valdez already has found his way onto Boston’s 40-man roster.

While younger and more projectable players will always get the edge, Valdez has carved a niche at No. 17.

Fenway forecast
There really isn’t much sense in trying to rush a utility man to the majors. The Red Sox might not have a choice, though.

Boston has had injuries and departures ravage its middle-infield depth, leaving Valdez as the first call-up option should the Red Sox be forced to make a move during the season. You will likely be seeing him make his big-league debut sooner rather than later.

Thumbnail photo via Rick Cinclair/Telegram & Gazette via USA TODAY Sports Images
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