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What to Expect From New Houston Astros Closer Jose Valverde

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I'll be honest, before last season's coming out party for new Astros closer, Jose Valverde, I'm not sure I could have told you what team he played for, or what position he played without looking it up. But obviously now, pretty much everyone knows of the 6'4", 255 lb dominican born fire-baller.

What can we expect from him this year?

Well, one thing you can expect is the return of rap music as your closer enters the game. Valverde who's nick name is Papa Grande( or Big Papa) enters the game to the tune of Big Poppa by the Notorious B.I.G. I'm sure most of you know or have at least heard this song... not my favorite, but I'm by no means a rap fan. If I remember correctly, the last time rap music was played for an Astro to enter the game as a closer was when Dotel took over the reigns in 2004.

Valverde offers 4 different pitches; both 2 and 4 seam fastballs, splitter, and a slider. Don't expect a Brad Lidge-type slider, but his fastballs have the potential to hit triple digits. You can also expect a little more "enthusiastic" strike out celebration than the Brad Lidge fist pump. We've all heard what Lance thinks about it... I'm not a real big fan of it, but hell... if he gets the job done, he can dance with a band out on the field for all I care. (see the video below if you haven't seen his celebration)

There are a few things that worry me about Valverde though. One, which could plainly be attributed to coincidence, is his down seasons on even numbered years. Valverde has posted ERA's of 2.15, 2.44 and 2.66 in odd numbered years while posting ERA's of 4.25 and 5.84 in even numbered years. With 2008 being an even numbered year, we can only hope he ends that trend now. Also, Valverde's K:BB ratio is a little low for my likings as an elite closer. His K:BB ratio is 2.98:1 compared to Brad Lidge's 3.3:1, Mariano Rivera's 3.6:1 and Billy Wagner's 3.9:1 ratio. One other thing to mention is, although Valverde led with 47 saves last year, he also led in chances... He blew 7 saves last year; just 1 less than Lidge.

One other completely pointless stat... Valverde owns a batting average of 1.000, slugging 2.000 with a double and an RBI in his only at bat of his major league career.

SEASON Team
W
L
ERA
G
GS
CG
SHO
SV
SVO
IP
H
R
ER
HR
HBP
BB
SO
2003 Arizona 2 1 2.15 54 0 0 0 10 11 50.1 24 16 12 4 2 26 71
2004 Arizona 1 2 4.25 29 0 0 0 8 10 29.2 23 17 14 7 1 17 38
2005 Arizona 3 4 2.44 61 0 0 0 15 17 66.1 51 19 18 5 2 20 75
2006 Arizona 2 3 5.84 44 0 0 0 18 22 49.1 50 32 32 6 2 22 69
2007 Arizona 1 4 2.66 65 0 0 0 47 54 64.1 46 21 19 7 3 26 78
Career Totals
  9 14 3.29 253 0 0 0 98 114 260 194 105 95 29 10 111 331