Framber Valdez, 25, was plucked form the Dominican Republic at the age of 21, considered to be old for international recruiting standards. The Astros were able to get him for a $10K signing bonus, which is looking more and more like a steal.
Valdez’s MLB scouting report gives him high marks for his two-seam fastball and his curveball that tends to have a deceiving drop at the plate, that fools righties and lefties. His changeup rates a little low due to his ability to keep it in the strike zone. He averages in the low 90’s with his fastball, 76-80 range with his curveball and a sinker that reaches the low 90’s.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
The #12 ranked prospect of the Astros rose fairly quickly through the minor league system, reaching the high A level within the first few months of his arrival. Last season he jumped to AA in the first two months, then moved up to the AAA Fresno shortly after, appearing in just two games before being called up to the Astros in August.
Between his AA-AAA appearances in 2018, Valdez had 129 strikeouts in 103 innings giving him a 11.3 SO/9 while walking 2.8/9 innings. He’s known for producing a high ground out to fly out ratio and only allowed 7 HRs in the minors last season. Valdez was named Pitcher of the Month that July, prior to his call up.
In the left-hander’s eight games as an Astro he went 4-2 with an ERA of 2.19, striking out 34 batters in 39 innings of work. He definitely left an impression on the front office. Some say he may be more suited as a reliever than a starter. But don’t tell that to GM Jeff Luhnow.
"“He’s got a repertoire of pitches that allows him to be a starter from the left side. He’s opened AJ’s eyes,” Luhnow stated, referencing Astros’ manager AJ Hinch, who is unabashed in his praise for Valdez: “He’s been very impressive with his poise and his ability to land his breaking ball.”"