We’re reviewing each player to appear in Houston’s system through 2022.
Framber Valdez is a five-foot-11, 239 lb. left-handed pitcher from Sabana Grande de Palenque, DR. Born on November 19, 1993, he played his first professional ball in the Astros system in 2015. In 2018, he made his debut.
From 2018 through 2021, Valdez pitched 313 innings and put up a 1.313 WHIP and 8.7 K/9. He walked 4.1 K/9, going 24-17 with a 3.74 ERA and a 4.04 FIP. Opponents put together a combined slashline of .231/.324/.346 through his first four seasons, consisting of 67 Valdez appearances — 45 of which were starts.
Valdez opened the season as Houston’s number one starter. On Opening Day, he tossed 6 2⁄3 innings of shutout, two-hit ball, striking out six in a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Angels. On May 30, he struck out seven and pitched a complete game, allowing one run on two hits and three walks as Houston topped the Oakland A’s, 5-1. In a 4-2 win against the Angels on July 3, he collected a season-best 13 strikeouts but earned no-decision.
On August 11, Valdez struck out eight over seven shutout innings, giving up one walk and four hits in a 7-3 triumph over the Texas Rangers. He pitched a shutout (the old fashioned way, not a combined shutout) on September 12 in a 7-0 win against the Detroit Tigers, giving up six hits and a walk. It took him 107 pitches, and he whiffed eight Tigers for his 15th win of the season.
In Valdez’ next start, on September 18, he set a new major league record with his 25th straight Quality Start. Valdez struck out seven over six innings, giving up one run on four hits in an 11-2 win against Oakland.
Valdez led the majors with three complete games, and led the American League with 201 1⁄3 innings, 827 batters faced, and only 0.5 HR/9. Opponents slashed him for a .223/.296/.305 line, while he struck out 194 for an 8.7 K/9. He was 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.157 WHIP. Valdez made the All Star team for the first time, and actually finished fifth in the AL Cy Young Award voting. It’s a good problem to have when your number two starter gets votes.
In the postseason, Valdez pitched like a man on fire, striking out 33 in 25 innings and giving up 14 hits and eight walks for a .880 WHIP. He allowed four earned runs for a 1.44 ERA, and held batters to .161/.240/.253.
Valdez earned $3,000,000 last season, breaking the seven-figure mark for the first time. In 2023, he should earn somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 million by sportrac.com. He’s eligible for his first big deal for the 2026 campaign. That means we have three more years of this guy trying his best.