Framber Valdez may not participate in World Baseball Classic due to 2022 workload
Framber Valdez was a workhorse in the 2022 season. He threw an American League leading 201.1 innings and a league-leading three complete games. A throwback starter, he went deep into each game, setting a big league record for consecutive quality starts.
When Framber took the ball, he was giving you at least six strong innings. The same held true in the postseason, when he provided Houston 25 innings across four starts. The 226 total innings were by far the most Valdez had thrown in his big league career.
He established himself in 2021 as a starter that can consistently go deep into games, but because of a pre-season injury to his finger, he made only 22 starts, nine less than his 2022 total.
All of the work Valdez put in last season may have taken a toll. Valdez was set to be one of the top starters for Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but his status is now up in the air according to a report from Héctor Gómez. Valdez had this to say:
"I would like to play in the 2023 WBC, but I pitched a lot of innings last season. I'm not ready, I have to rest my shoulder. I'll talk to my psychologist to see what decision I'll make."- Framber Valdez
This quote provides some mixed feelings. There is some sadness for Framber in that he may not be able to represent his country as previously planned. There is some pride in the fact that he is placing his health and wellness for the regular season ahead of what amounts to a prestigious tournament of exhibition games. And there is also some sembelance of concern when he says he is not ready and has to rest his shoulder.
The WBC will be taking place during what would usually be Spring Training. If Valdez isn't ready, when will he be? The Astros have long raved about Framber's rubber arm, but was it overdone in 2022?
The start of the regular season is March 30th. Valdez is the presumed Opening Day starter. All that matters is his status for Opening Day. A month and a half is still plenty of time for Framber to rest, but he also needs to be geared up and stretched out for the season.
Here is hoping there is no cause for concern and Valdez is just putting his general well-being first on the road to an Astros' World Series repeat.