Apr 5, 2016

Former Mets Utility Player: Eric Valent (2004-2005)

Eric Christian Valent was born on April 4, 1977 in La Mirada, California. The six foot left handed Valent, attended U.C.L.A, playing baseball for the Bruins on a star studded cast of future MLB players.

Along with team mates Troy Glaus, Eric Byrnes, Chase Utley, and Garrett Atkins, Valent was named Pac Ten Player of the Year, helping his team get to the College World Series. In 1998 he was drafted in the first round (the 42nd pick overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies.

In 1999 at A ball he hit 20 HRs with 31 doubles getting promoted to AA Reading in 2000 where he would hit 22 HRs with 90 RBIs.

In 2001 he hit 21 more HRs at AAA Scranton although he struck out over 100 times. He made his MLB debut as a September call up playing in 22 games batting just .098. He spent most of 2003 at Scranton/ Wilkes Barre getting traded to the Cincinnati Reds for former Mets catcher Kelly Stinnett in 2003. He appeared in 18 games that September for the Reds batting .214.

In December of 2003 he was drafted away by the New York Mets. In April of 2004 he hit a two run HR against Livan Hernandez & the Montreal Expos after entering the game as a pinch hitter. Five days later he hit a three run pinch hit HR against the Pirates in a 7-6 Mets loss.

A depleted 2004 Mets team used the versatile Valent in 130 games overall including 46 in the outfield & 27 at first base & many times as a pinch hitter. On the field he made just one error at both positions.

He responded by having the best year of his career batting .267 with 13 HRs, 15 doubles, 34 RBIs a .337 on base % & a team leading two triples.

On July 29th, he became the eighth player in Mets history to hit for the cycle; it came in Montreal in a 10-1 Mets win over the Expos. In the 2nd inning, he followed a Mike Cameron two run HR with a base hit. He eventually scored on Mike Piazza's single. In the 3rd, Cameron homered for a second time, this Time Valent followed with a double.

In the 5th he hit his 6th HR of the year, a two un shot scoring Cameron who was also having a big day. He completed his cycle saving the hardest for last, a triple that also scored Cameron. Valent scored four runs while driving in three runs in that game.

In late August he had two pinch hit HRs, the first coming against the Rockies in Colorado & the other against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. The previous day he had also homered against the Padres in a 9-2 Mets loss. He closed out September with a six game hit streak & hit four HRs in the month.

In 2005 he began the year with the Mets out of Spring Training, but only hit .186 in 28 games through the end of May. He was sent back down to AAA Norfolk, where he hit .255 with 9 HRs in 79 games. He was granted free agency at the end of the year & signed with the San Diego Padres but was soon released. Valent went to Japan for one season before retiring from playing the game.

Retirement: In his five season career he batted .234 with 95 hits 13 HRs 20 doubles, two triples, 37 RBIs & a .307 on base % playing in 205 career games. He became a coach & then a scout in the Phillies organization

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