Can Anthuan Valencia overcome the stigma left by this former Reds international signee?

Cincinnati Reds third basemen Alfredo Rodriguez (69) looks down the line.
Cincinnati Reds third basemen Alfredo Rodriguez (69) looks down the line. / Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services,

The Cincinnati Reds were busy during the early days of the 2022 international signing period. The Redlegs signed three players ranked in the Top 50 according to MLB Pipeline. Can Anthan Valencia become more than a glove-first shortstop?

The Reds spent big money on Alfredo Rodriguez during the 2016 international signing period. Alf-Rod was seen as an elite defender who was going to add at least an average bat to the organization. Unfortunately, things never materialized for Rodriguez at the dish and now, at 27 years old, he's yet to debut in the big leagues.

Did the Reds learn from their mistake in 2016?

Look, I'm a big defense-first guy. I loved watching José Iglesias pick it at shortstop during his 2019 campaign with the Cincinnati Reds. But that season, Iglesias also brought his bat to the stadium. Iglesias hit .288 that year and earned a nice payday from Baltimore Orioles the following offseason.

However, after putting up terrific numbers with the Reds and Baltimore Orioles from 2019-2020, Iglesias fell short of expectations with the Los Angeles Angels last season and was eventually released by the Halos. The Boston Red Sox later signed Iglesias and the 32-year-old to help out their infield over the final month of the season.

The point is, while entertaining to watch, the idea of the glove-first shortstop is no longer valid in Major League Baseball. Alfredo Rodriguez found that out the hard way. Cincinnati inked the slick-fielding shortstop to a $7M signing bonus in 2016 and have yet to reap the benefits of that investment.

The Reds are hopeful that Anthuan Valencia rises above the defense-first stigma and develops into a solid, all-around shortstop. Described as a leader on the diamond who can make all the routine plays and even some that aren't so routine.

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Valencia is viewed a plus defender with the upside of making hard contact. It's doubtful that att 5-foot-8 the 17-year-old will turn into a power hitter, but if he can barrel up the ball and be, at the very least, an average hitter, the Cincinnati Reds may have a place for "El Capitán" down the road.