Chris Vallimont is Tearing Up the Midwest League: Miami Marlins Prospects

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 29: A detailed photo of the Rawlings baseball glove of Derek Dietrich
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 29: A detailed photo of the Rawlings baseball glove of Derek Dietrich /

Chris Vallimont has been tearing up the Midwest League to start this season, but you may not have heard much about him.

With the fifth round selection, 147th off the board, the Miami Marlins chose Chris Vallimont out of Mercyhurst College. Vallimont is a 6’5″, 220 lb. right-handed starter from Erie, PA, and he’s been tearing up the Midwest League in the early part of the 2019 season.

As the Opening Day starter for the Clinton LumberKings, who are the Miami Marlins new single-A affiliate (replacing the South Atlantic League’s Greensboro Grasshoppers), Vallimont held the Kane County Cougars (another ex-Marlins affiliate) to two hits and no runs over five innings. He struck out eight.

After four starts, Vallimont has struck out more than a batter per inning in three of them, and hasn’t allowed more hits than innings pitched. In total, he’s got 25 to miss in just 22 innings of work, while surrendering three earned runs on 14 hits and six walks. The resultant 0.909 WHIP is certainly elite, but is it sustainable?

Vallimont, who you can follow on Twitter @Valli_Swag7, turned 22-years-old last month. In his final collegiate season with the Mercyhurst Lakers, he went 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA and a staggering 147 whiffs in 80 innings of work. After the draft, he joined the rotation with the Batavia Muckdogs, in the short-season-A New York-Penn League. Over 11 starts and one relief appearance, he gave up 23 hits and 23 walks in 29 innings while striking out 20 and allowing 20 runs. His resultant 1.59 WHIP wasn’t something that anyone would have wanted him to carry over, and on that point so far, its mission accomplished.

"After instructs I was very meticulous with the new stuff I learned there mechanics wise. I worked out at a local gym called Lewis Fitness and Performance which does sport specific type lifts and they really went above and beyond getting me ready. I ended the season in Batavia on a better note and just tried to build off that. Attacking hitters and making them hit my stuff and not being afraid to throw the ball. Having that first short season really helped just getting adjusted to the game. – Vallimont"

Opponents are connecting off Vallimont this year at a .187/.244/.280 clip with only one home run. Also of note, opposing baserunners have been successful in zero of five base-stealing attempts. So even when he does allow one of those pesky (but infrequent) baserunners, they are often erased without a trace.

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Vallimont’s .260 BAbip suggests he’s been subject to a little luck, but not very much really. Also of particular note is his reverse Chen-splits, where he’s better on the road than at home. He’s had two starts in each setting, and has allowed a .125 road BA and a home mark of .257. He’s also murder on lefty hitters, racking up a .167 oppBA.

We’ll continue to keep our eyes trained north for further developments in Vallimont’s career. If he keeps producing at this level, it shouldn’t be too long before he makes the move to the advanced-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League.

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