Jordan DiValerio was one of 16 undrafted free agents the Red Sox signed in the wake of the pandemic-shortened 2020 amateur draft.
Two days before officially signing with the club, DiValerio received a phone call and recruiting pitch from Boston ace Chris Sale, which made the decision to put pen to paper that much easier.
“It was definitely really surprising,” DiValerio told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo at the time when describing his conversation with Sale. “It means so much to just be wanted by such a great organization.”
A right-handed senior coming out of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, DiValerio signed with the Sox for $20,000. Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Nescopeck, Pa. native was unable to make his professional debut in 2020 since the minor-league season had already been cancelled.
Instead, DiValerio got his first taste of pro ball during fall instructs in Fort Myers. He took what he learned there into minor-league camp the following spring and opened the 2021 season with Low-A Salem.
In 31 appearances (one start) for Salem, the righty posted a 5.72 ERA and 4.21 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to just 16 walks over 72 1/3 innings of work. The length of his outings ranged from 2/3 of an inning to four full frames.
On the surface, a 5.72 ERA is not exactly an eye-popping statistic. But, in DiValerio’s case, his ERA does not tell the full story when you consider the fact that he also put up a 4.21 FIP and much more respectable 3.95 xFIP.
Among the 35 pitchers who accrued at least 70 innings in the Low-A East last year, DiValerio ranked ninth in FIP, seventh in xFIP, fourth in walks per nine innings (1.99), fourth in walk rate (5.1%), and seventh in swinging strike percentage (14.6%), per FanGraphs. The 24-year-old hurler also yielded a .347 batting average on balls put in play, which suggests he might have been the victim of some bad luck behind him.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, DiValerio throws from a high three-quarters arm slot and operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of an 89-92 mph that tops out at 94 mph, a 77-79 mph curveball, an 80-83 mph changeup and splitter, and an 82-84 mph slider, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.
Like fellow right-hander Devon Roedahl, DiValerio — who does not turn 25 until October — may not be regarded by any major publication as one of the top pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system. That being said, he is projected by SoxProspects.com to kick off the 2022 season in the bullpen for High-A Greenville.
As is the case with Roedahl, perhaps DiValerio can earn himself a promotion to Double-A Portland before the end of the year.
(Picture of Jordan DiValerio via his Instagram)