Indians RHP Luis Valdez Has Stuff To Succeed
Indians righthander Luis Valdez is not a player on many prospect radars and that’s understandable. He’s a 21-year-old who has spent two years in the Dominican Summer League before coming to the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2017.
The Indians signed him for $300,000 as an 18-year-old just before the end of the 2014-2015 international signing period ended. Since then, nothing in this his stat line would generate a second glance. He went 0-7, 7.24 with more walks (36) than strikeouts (35) and 63 hits allowed in 51 innings last season. But in an impressive inning on the Indians backfields on Tuesday, he looked a lot better than that.
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Valdez paired a 96-97 mph fastball with a 83-84 mph curveball that he showed an ability to locate and generated swings and misses. And he didn’t show the control issues that have dogged him in the past.
It was only one inning. There’s plenty of reasons to wait and see if Valdez has taken a step forward or just had a good inning. But Valdez’s stuff is a reminder of just how difficult pro baseball is, and also just how much talent is bubbling beneath the surface in most organizations, especially when it comes to bullpen arms.