Astros’ Framber Valdez makes bold change that could make him future rotation leader

Framber Valdez is making a big change to how he handles his business in 2024.

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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With any team, including the Houston Astros, there are guys who execute a set game plan and could be considered "throwers" with loads of physical talent, but maybe don't excel when it comes to game-planning. There are very good pitchers that fit this mold, so it isn't a knock whatsoever. Then there are the pitchers who want to have their plan in place themselves and will make adjustments during games.

It is that latter level of control that Framber Valdez wants going forward. Over the last four seasons, Valdez has cemented his status as one the best pitchers in the American League and is coming off back-to-back All-Star seasons.

However, Valdez recently revealed that he's calling some pitches of his own this season, and that transition should have the rest of the league on high alert.

Framber Valdez is taking charge and could lead the Astros' staff into the future

The PitchCom technology, which allows the pitcher and catcher to communicate without having to throw down signs has changed the dynamic between the two positions. Sure, pitchers could shake pitch calls off or a catcher could come to the mound to get on the same page, but the catcher was generally the one making the calls and the pitcher would execute.

With PitchCom, pitchers like Valdez who thrive most when they have confidence in their own game plan and more conviction when they're choosing the pitches. With a young catcher behind the plate now in Yainer Diaz, Valdez taking that leadership role during his starts should, in theory, only help him going forward and allow Diaz to learn on the job.

More than that, though, is how Valdez is choosing to use PitchCom could spill over to the rest of the Astros' pitching staff. While Houston is obviously very data- and technology-forward, their pitching staff hasn't been using PitchCom in that way previously. The catcher was still deciding on a pitch, punching the buttons, and the pitcher would receive the call and execute.

If the rest of the Astros' pitching staff follows suit, as they should, Houston may end up being better off in the long-term while getting to enjoy the short-term gains Valdez.

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