Gavin LaValley returned to Daytona to start his 2017 season. In the first game of the year he went 2-4, but then went into a bit of a slump over the next week. From April 14th through the 28th he had hits in 13 of the 14 games, hitting .358 with five doubles and six home runs. In the last two games he would go 0-7. Overall it was a very good opening month for LaValley, hitting .293/.330/.587 with seven home runs.
May didn’t get out to a good start. In the first half of the month, Gavin LaValley went 9-49 with just one double. For as rough as the first half of the month was, the second half was just as good. In the final 14 games of May he hit .377/.433/.830 with six doubles and six home runs. While inconsistent, for the month he performed well. In 115 plate appearances the first baseman hit .284/.348/.529.
Gavin LaValley started out June by going 11-34 in the first eight games and hitting two more home runs, pushing his season total to 15. On June 17th he took part in the Florida State League All-Star game and took full advantage of the spotlight. LaValley hit two home runs, both two run shots to help his side take home the win. The 22-year-old was promoted to Double-A for the final week of the month. With Pensacola he got out to a hot start, hitting .370 over the final week with two doubles and two homers.
For as hot as Gavin LaValley was to end June, he was that cold over the first 17 days of July. He went just 9-57 (.158) in 16 games over that span. Like previous months, he turned things around down the stretch. Over the final 12 games of the month he went 18-48 (.375) with five doubles. The surge wasn’t enough to overcome the slow start this time as he finished July with a .257/.319/.371 line.
August began with another slump for Gavin LaValley. In the first nine games of the month he went 4-36 (.111) with 13 strikeouts. He would rebound over the next four games, going 6-18 with two doubles, but then went into another big slump. For the next week he went 1-19. Things would pick up from there for LaValley, finishing out the final two weeks of the season by hitting .333 in 12 games. It was a rough stretch over the final five weeks where he hit .217/.268/.261 over 127 plate appearances.
For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Gavin LaValley Spray Chart
*includes playoff games*
Gavin LaValley Scouting Report
Hitting | Gavin LaValley can and does use the entire field. That’s the good. But, he’s really only done damage, both for hits and power, to the pull side throughout his career. His hit tool is a little below-average.
Power | This is where Gavin LaValley can shine. If we include the All-Star game and three playoff games, he hit 22 home runs this season. While his power dropped off with his promotion to Double-A, he’s got above-average power potential with 20+ homers in the future not being unrealistic.
Running | He’s a well below-average runner.
Arm | His arm is average, though at first base it doesn’t come into play very often.
Defense | Almost all of his time came at first base in 2017 after seeing some action at third base in previous seasons. While he could probably still be a backup caliber player at third, it would seem his future is going to be at first base. There’s still some work to be done at first base, but he’s capable over there now.
Gavin LaValley’s future in the Reds organization is one of uncertainty. He plays the same position as Joey Votto, who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for quite a while. If you produce, someone will find a place for you though, even if it’s not the current team you are with. LaValley hit quite well in the first half with Daytona, but he struggled in his time in the second half. Double-A pitchers were able to take advantage of his pitch recognition a little bit more and it led to less contact and combined with the ballpark in Pensacola, much less power, too. His OPS in Pensacola was 136 points lower than it was when he was on the road, and it was almost all due to a 126 point slugging advantage away from Pensacola.
The power will play in the future. Where Gavin LaValley will need to show improvements is in finding more consistency and with his pitch recognition moving forward. He will only be 23-years-old next year and likely returning to Double-A Pensacola. The pop is the selling point for LaValley, but if he can improve offensively a little bit in other areas (small boosts to his average and walk rate) there’s starter potential at first base in the long haul (even though it probably wouldn’t be for the Reds).