Astros’ All-Time Best Seasons: Closing Pitchers

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Anyone remember the 2007-2008 offseason? This is the only appearance in this list for our 2014 closing pitcher. In that offseason we traded Chad Qualls, Chris Burke, and J.C. Gutierrez for Jose Valverde. Fresh off an all-star year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Valverde was entering his sixth season in the major leagues.

He was far from the prototypical closer during the 2008 season. Despite a lofty home run rate and a high ERA, he managed to do his job at a high rate.

  • 3.38 ERA
  • 3.67 FIP
  • 1.181 WHIP
  • 44 saves/51 opportunities (86.3%)
  • 71 games finished
  • 72 innings pitched
  • 10 home runs allowed (1.3 HR/9)
  • 83 strikeouts to 23 walks (3.61 K/BB)

Valverde eventually became an all-star two more times with the Detroit Tigers. He saved all 49 of his opportunities with the Tigers in 2011 but was dreadful in the postseason. In all he sported a 9.82 ERA throughout parts of 7 series in the playoffs.

Valverde remains to be a free agent, so perhaps his career is not over yet. But with stratospheric ERA’s the last two seasons, I think his best years are well behind him.

jose Valverde (Credit: Ronald Martinez)

Next: Vote for the Astros' All Time Best Season: Closers