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Get To Know: Miracle RHP Chris Vallimont

Last Saturday, we heard that the Minnesota Twins had acquired reliever Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins. Soon after, news trickled in that the Twins had dealt 1B Lewin Diaz to the Marlins. But it didn’t take long for us to learn that the Twins had also acquired a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later. That pitcher is Chris Vallimont, and recently we were able to chat with the hard-throwing right-hander.
Image courtesy of Steve Buhr (photo of Chris Vallimont)
On Saturday night, the Jupiter Hammerheads were playing in Tampa against the Yankees’ Florida State League affiliate. Jupiter’s manager, former long-time big league catcher Todd Pratt, called Vallimont over and told him that he had just been traded to the Twins.

“At first, it caught me off guard. I really didn’t know what to think. But then I realized that it was going to be a better for me in the long run.”

Vallimont said his goodbyes, and the next 24 hours were a bit hectic. He noted, “That night, I had to Uber from Tampa to Jupiter. The next morning, I packed up my car and drove to Ft. Myers.”

He got to the Miracle game in the seventh inning. He was able to meet his new teammates and coaches. After the game, he met the rest of the team. And maybe the best thing that could have happened, the Miracle had an off day on Monday so he could kind of catch his bearings.

On Thursday night, he made his first Miracle start in Game 2 of a doubleheader.

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Chris Vallimont was born in 1997 in Erie, Pennsylvania. And Twins fans probably won’t want to hear about which team he liked as he grew up.

“Erie is right in the middle of Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. My grandparents and members of my family great up as Cleveland fans. Also with them having pro baseball, football and basketball, it made it easy to cheer for one city.”

We won’t discuss the Cleveland baseball team here, but Vallimont excitedly said, “I’m so excited for the Browns this year!”

That isn’t something heard nationally often, at least not until this year. But Vallimont and his family have been life-long fans, not just fair-weather fans. “It’s been rough for a little bit, but I’m very excited to be at the stadium to watch some games this year.

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At Mercyhurst Prep, Vallimont played football his freshman year. He played basketball and baseball all four years.

He wasn’t a big prospect coming out of high school. He went to a couple of showcases, but he was unable to garner much attention from college baseball coaches. He received scholarship offers from his hometown school, Mercyhurst, and two other Division II colleges in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

He recalls, “Other schools just weren’t interested and didn’t offer anything. When I committed (to Mercyhurst), they were already 15-0. I couldn’t be more have to go there.”

As a junior, Vallimont went 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA. In 80 1/3 innings, he struck out 147 batters and led his team to the Division II World Series. The team went 0-2 in the tournament, but the experience is one he will never forget.

“It was an unbelievable experience, going down there with all of my brothers. We played in Cary, North Carolina, at the Team USA facilities.”

That June (2018), he was watching the MLB draft with his parents, with his college coach Joe Spano and some friends. In the 5th round, he heard his name taken by the Miami Marlins.

“I was kind of expecting it, from talking to coach Joe Spano, and talking with Dan Altavilla. But even having that idea, it still was an unforgettable moment.”

Altavilla has pitched in parts of the past four seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He was a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Mercyhurst, a couple of years before Vallimont arrived. He has been helpful to Vallimont. “I have his number. When I need anything, I text him and he’ll help me out. He has been a mentor through that draft process and since.”

At Mercyhurst, Vallimont played one season with RHP Colin McKee. He was the Astros 18th round pick in 2016. He has worked his way up to their Triple-A affiliate. “He has been my biggest mentor…

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During his three summers, Vallimont played summer college baseball. The first two years, he played in the Perfect Game Collegiate League. He said that he played about 50 minutes from his home in Erie. He also pitched briefly in the Cape Cod League.

Of those experiences, he said, “It got me ready for the upcoming seasons at Mercyhurst, facing a lot of D1 players and a lot of good prospects, “

After his first season at Mercyhurst, Vallimont decided to visit and workout at Driveline Baseball.
“Me and a couple of buddies went out there to learn a couple of the throws. It was awesome, just learning from them and from the technology.”

Vallimont has continued to go to Driveline as a pro and intends to go back every year..

“I think it formed me into having the mentality that I have. In high school, I didn’t really throw that hard. Once I started doing it, I saw a jump in velo every year. It gave me the mentality that I was going to go out and throw hard. I think it made me a better pitcher overall, not just with velocity but tunneling my pitches. I think it cleaned up some mechanics as well.”



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Vallimont has immense talent and some really good stuff. He stands 6-5 and about 230 pounds. He can be an intimidating presence on the mound.

When asked to describe himself as a pitcher, Vallimont was clear that is about “the right mentality for a pitcher where it’s always Attack Mode. I will go after you with whatever I have working that day. I don’t care who is in the box, I am going to go after you with my best stuff.” He later added, “I have a bulldog mentality. I’ll go after you with my best stuff.”

He throws four pitches.

Fastball - It sits 95-96 mph, but he has been able to touch 98. “I’m very confident with my fastball.”

Curveball - “I am also confident in my curveball.” Vallimont added, “It’s a 12-6 curveball with some depth.”

Changeup - His changeup was a work-in-progress, but he has become much more confident in it this year. “I”ve been getting a lot more confident with it just by throwing it more and using it in the right situations. I really worked on it this offseason, figuring out new ways to throw it and finding a consistent grip that I like. This season, it’s come a long way. Now I find myself on the mounce actually shaking to a changeup.”

Slider - “It’s a little hit-and-miss. I just throw it hard and hope it moves.”

While confident, he understands. “Everything is still a work in progress at this point.”

Posted Image

Like most power-armed starting pitcher prospects, the easy thing to say is that he will likely move to the bullpen at some point. We see that in many prospect rankings and from every outlet. That may be determined in the coming years and likely will be dependent upon further development of his third and fourth pitches.

One person with the Twins organization said of Vallimont, “We think he can start.”

And he will get that opportunity, starting with the Miracle.

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Away from the game of baseball, Vallimont is a sports junkie, but he also is a video game player. “Really, NHL and Fortnite.”

“Other than that, I watch sports. I follow sports. Football, baseball and basketball. I think basketball is my favorite sport, other than baseball. I’m pretty big into that.

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The remainder of the 2019 season will be a good learning experience for Chris Vallimont. Coming to a new organization means that he will meet a lot of new people. He noted that the only player that he knew from the Twins organization was catcher/first baseman Chris Williams. The two met in mid-June at the Midwest League All Star weekend in South Bend. “It made it easier just knowing someone here.”

But it is an exciting time for the hard-throwing right-hander, and he’s ready and excited for the opportunity. “This is a great situation for me to move around and get into my routine and work. I couldn’t be more happy to be with the Twins.”

Welcome Chris Vallimont to the Minnesota Twins organization! Feel free to welcome him in the Comments and ask questions if you have any.

You can follow Chris Vallimont on Twitter at @Valli_Swag7.

Posted Image

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11 Comments

Great size and mindset! How is his control?

Kind of tough timing for this article after he gave up a bunch of runs in his first start with his "great" stuff. 

 

I know it is just one one game and he appears to be a guy that is going to be a good pitcher.He has the size, the control, the tricky stuff that you like to see your pitchers have.He also is willing to leverage technology to make himself better so you know he is dedicated to his craft.

 

I am still a believer and the Twins scouting staff picked him for a reason so they must like his stuff as well.This is a results oriented endeavor though so hoping to have better things to say about him in the future when he is having greater success.

He indeed had the same first impression as Dyson.

Still a little crazy the Twins pick up a successful veteran BP pitcher with experience for a couple low level prospects and our 29-30th ranked prospect and pick up a new 29-30th ranked prospect.

Both Diaz and Davis are the front runners for Twins hitters of the year honor if they are still with the organization.

They have been doing way better than most of our top prospects this year.

    • Dman likes this

 

Kind of tough timing for this article after he gave up a bunch of runs in his first start with his "great" stuff. 

 

I know it is just one one game and he appears to be a guy that is going to be a good pitcher.He has the size, the control, the tricky stuff that you like to see your pitchers have.He also is willing to leverage technology to make himself better so you know he is dedicated to his craft.

 

I am still a believer and the Twins scouting staff picked him for a reason so they must like his stuff as well.This is a results oriented endeavor though so hoping to have better things to say about him in the future when he is having greater success.

 

"Stuff" is still great... I can't imagine that people (player, scouts, etc.) would alter an opinion on one game. The only results that truly matter are those in the big leagues. Obviously the numbers matter a ittle more as they move up.

 

Both Diaz and Davis are the front runners for Twins hitters of the year honor if they are still with the organization.

They have been doing way better than most of our top prospects this year.

 

Both Diaz and Davis are the front runners for Twins hitters of the year honor if they are still with the organization.

They have been doing way better than most of our top prospects this year.

 

I would argue that they are still the favorites....

    • jz7233 likes this

 

"Stuff" is still great... I can't imagine that people (player, scouts, etc.) would alter an opinion on one game. The only results that truly matter are those in the big leagues. Obviously the numbers matter a ittle more as they move up.

 

Yeah I get that.All I am saying is it just hard to say yeah this guy is great when he gave up six runs and couldn't make it past the third inning last night.Every pitcher has his bad game now and then so I get what you are saying but the reality is it is hard to praise how good a guy is after an outing like that.I mean he was awful last night that is just the reality.He didn't look dominating.He didn't look like he had command of his pitches there just isn't much good to say about an outing like that and it was the first game with his new team.The first time I get a chance to see what he can do.I can't say I was impressed because well I wasn't.

 

I also get what you are saying about results matter more in the bigs.Sure in the minors they are learning as they move up and results don't mean quite as much but the reality is they do still matter.If he throws like that every game then he won't move to the next level.Players need to show some level of dominance to give the team a reason to move a player up so results do matter.Even if they move a marginal performer up odds are they won't make it to the level beyond that anyway.You have to have good outcomes\results to keep moving up otherwise your talent level has peaked and you won't make it to the next level.

 

I agree with you it was just one game but it was a game that did not show that he is a dominant pitcher as he didn't get good results.The other team was getting hits all over the place.It is just hard to say hey that guy is really good after a performance like that.Not trying to be mean but realistic.I am sure he will be better next time out and then I will be sure to mention all the positives.I still like his potential one game won't define him it just came at kind of a bad time IMO.

Photo
Aerodeliria
Aug 02 2019 10:27 PM
Thanks for this!

I wanna call him Valdemort! The pitcher who must not be named later!

    • ashbury likes this

I wanna call him Valdemort! The pitcher who must not be named later!

/winnar

/thread


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