Astros: Saying Goodbye to Luis Valbuena
By Cody Poage
Time to look back on a brief Astros career for a certain infielder that had a penchant for bat flips.
Believe it or not, but the Astros acquired Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily for Dexter Fowler exactly two years ago yesterday. But in 2017 Houston moves on from the last reminder of that trade.
Valbuena, the slugger who bat flipped his way into our hearts, has reportedly joined forces with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
It’s a sad development in a way. Let’s not forget that Valbuena missed quite a bit of time with an injured hamstring that eventually placed him on the disabled list for almost half of the season. And that happened right when his bat was coming alive. When healthy, he could be a 2-3 win player. In just 90 games last year Valbuena posted a 2.0 WAR and a 123 wRC+. It’s no secret that Houston’s lineup took a small plunge following his absence.
But this is not unexpected news as Alex Bregman is prime to take over third base on a full-time basis. Nothing against Valbuena, but the Astros just simply didn’t have room for him on their roster to get consistent playing time.
Looking back, though, I can’t help but have good memories about Valbuena. Sure, he wasn’t a core piece of this franchise. But his presence and ability to alter the game with one swing was a good trait to have on the roster. And his flexibility to play multiple positions will be missed.
At least we have moments like this to remember the slugger by as we prepare for life without him in the orange-and-blue.
Good luck in Anaheim, Luis! Even though you are going to a divisional foe, we will always have fond memories of you in Houston. Just remember to take it easy on the bat flips when you play the Astros.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**