On Tuesday, Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez sustained an injury while fielding a ground ball in the first inning against the New York Mets. Although making the throw to first on the play, the left-hander shook off the trainer and ended up pitching another inning of work.
Jon Heyman reported that the Astros starter’s injury is “serious and expected to keep him out quite awhile.” This is a huge loss for Houston, as they look to contend for another American League pennant. It also leaves a huge hole in the rotation and possible questions of who will take his place, but this fractured left ring finger has damaged the Astros’ staff. There is no timetable on his return to the game.
With Framber Valdez falling to injury, where do the Astros look for depth?
Valdez was electric for the Astros in the regular season and postseason in 2020, and as one of the young guys on staff, he was expected to have a ’21 season to prove his ace-like ability. The injury came from sticking his finger into his glove while trying to field the ground ball, and by the looks of it, Houston might need to look to the free agency market or the minor leagues for a replacement until his return.
The left-hander posted an ERA of 3.57 across 70.2 innings of work in 2020, with a drop of 2.29 in ERA in the same amount of innings. The progression was there for Valdez, as he looked to throw more off speed pitches in 2021. While not knowing his expected return, Valdez’s maturity and ability will need to be replaced fast in the rotation. Jake Odorizzi is a former Tampa Bay Ray with ties to James Click who is available on the market.