Trade Analysis: Jordan Foley for Jefry Valdez

Transaction: New York Yankees send RHP Jordan Foley to the Colorado Rockies for RHP Jefry Valdez

About Foley: Jordan Foley was the Yankees fifth rounder in 2014 after a strong career at Central Michigan. The 25-year old spent all of 2018 pitching for Double-A Trenton and finished it with an unsuccessful stint in the Arizona Fall League. It was in Arizona where Jason Pennini of Prospects Live was able to put eyes on the newest Rockie farmhand. Here’s his report:

“Works from high three quarters slot that borders over the top. High effort delivery which lacks fluidity, big head movement at foot strike. Good extension for arm slot. FB 90-93 with natural cut at times, the result of follow through across body. Some plane on the FB due to the high slot. Body slows for SL 83-87. Shape of pitch varied. At times with more two-plane break and at times more vertical. The delivery makes it difficult to command in zone. Middle relief ceiling.”

Foley had a rough 19.2 inning stint in the AFL as he had a 20:19 K:BB ratio and an ERA of 9.15. The Rockies elected not to add Foley to the 40-man after acquiring him, which means he’s eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft.

About Valdez: Valdez appears to be a nice find by the Rockies international department. Valdez has an athletic, loose delivery with a fastball/slider combination that can eventually put him in the backend of a bullpen. He sits 92-93 right now and can touch 95. He has feel for a slider as well. There’s projection here and enough arm strength that makes it easy to see some potential added velocity here. The command is shaky, but Valdez has better command of his off-speed than his fastball from what I’ve seen. Valdez racked up 45 strikeouts and 9 walks in his 34 innings in 2018. He’s posted strong ground ball rates up over 54% the last two seasons. It’s worth noting that while his ERA 5.82 in Low-A, his FIP was a stellar 2.73.

His delivery is concerning to me, but it’s nothing that experience can’t fix. His timing is inconsistent, and he falls really hard towards first base after release. These issues can be fixed though, and the Yankees are the right organization for these low level flame-throwers. The Yankees are so good at cultivating talent out of arms in the low levels while also identifying those arms in other organizations. The Yankees literally have dozens of arms that fit this mold, and our Jason Woodell broke down several of them in his Yankees Top 30 which can be found here. Valdez wouldn’t fit in on that list, but the Yankees system is deep enough that Jason probably could’ve written up another thirty prospects.

To sum it up, The Yankees turned a future a middle relief prospect that lacks projection and would’ve required a 40-man spot into a potential high upside arm in the low minors that also gives them more flexibility. The Rockies are turning a lotto ticket signing into a nearly Major League ready arm that can contribute to the bullpen in the second half of 2019. A trade that helps out each team.