Astros: How Framber Valdez came to be a blossoming ace

Houston Astros, Framber Valdez (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Astros, Framber Valdez (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Framber Valdez has had an interesting road to becoming a Houston Astros potential ace.

The little known player likes to make his name known in the playoffs — David Freese in 2011, Travis Ishikawa in 2014, and now Framber Valdez in 2020. Valdez, who’s come into his own with the Houston Astros, is a Dominican-born baseball player who has had an interesting journey to the big leagues.

Previously being scouted by complete accident by two Astros scouts in the winter of 2015, Valdez has made his way into the top three in the team’s rotation. You probably had no idea who Valdez was until this season, but he’s made an appearance in the two seasons before as a replacement for injured pitchers.

He began his career with a tryout with the Milwaukee Brewers after being a part of Milwaukee Dominican Team, but a failed physical ended his chances of signing with the ball club. I guess there was one plus from the Brewers-Astros negotiations from 2013-2015.

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After being signed by Houston in March of 2015, it took him three years to reach the bigs. Valdez made it in eight games in 2018 and really showed his potential with an ERA of 2.19. Yet, his 2019 stance was not the same. Over 26 games, his ERA climbed to 5.86 and had only 68 strikeouts through 70.2 innings pitched.

Now in 2020, Valdez came full circle, showing better numbers than his 2018 campaign. He fanned 76 batters in 70.2 innings pitched, dropped his ERA to 3.57 and has been dominant in the playoffs. He’s made some adjustments that have really helped him out this year.

You can expect a future All-Star game from this dominant southpaw. He holds a lot of potential with his nasty snap dragon that he calls “the Ax.” This season, he was named the Astros Pitcher of the Year, as voted on by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The team has not had a dominant lefty starter since former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. There is no other comparison other than their lefty arms, but Valdez is a very substantial replacement for the southpaw spot in the rotation. This is only the beginning for the 26-year-old.