Framber Valdez of the Houston Astros is having a breakout season in his fifth year in the majors. Valdez has always had great potential and has put up strong numbers, but this season he is playing like a Cy Young Award candidate. Last night, the Dominican left-hander threw his first career shutout to help his team record a 7-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
It was an historic night for the young pitcher, who now ties a single-season record for most consecutive quality starts. Last night's outing was Framber Valdez's 24th quality start in a row. It is an astonishing achievement considering the pitcher is not even considered the best starter in the Astros rotation.
At 28 years old, Valdez has time to continue developing into a truly elite pitcher. Fans are in awe of his improvement over the past few seasons and the stability and depth he has brought to Houston's pitching core.
Valdez looked comfortable from the minute he stepped onto the mound. He threw nine shutout innings and gave up no runs. It took the 2022 All-Star 107 total pitches to work through the Tigers lineup. He struck out eight batters and allowed only one walk.
Framber Valdez has a 15-5 record this season and has now lowered his ERA to 2.50. He has pitched 179.2 innings and averages just under one strikeout per inning with a total of 169.
Arguabaly his greatest strengths are his efficiency and his ability to go deep into games. In 27 starts this season, only twice has he pitched fewer than six innings. The last time that happened was back on April 19 when he was pulled after 4.1 innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
2022 All-Star Framber Valdez is 15-5 on the season with 2.50 ERA
Per MLB, a quality start is officially recorded when a pitcher completes at least six innings while allowing three or fewer earned runs. It is a key indicator when judging starting pitchers.
Valdez has flown under the radar and quietly tied a highly rated MLB record. Only the New York Mets' Jacob deGrom has ever completed 24 straight quality starts in a single season. It was achieved back in 2018.
"This means a lot to me, because it means I'm helping the team when I'm pitching. They help me with their great defense and their offense, and I know I'm giving them a chance to win," said Valdez through his translator.
The Oakland Athletics will most likely be Valdez's next opponent as he attempts to break deGrom's record. It will be a high-pressure game for the start. The fact that he is facing one of the lowest-ranked offenses in MLB will give him some self-confidence. Valdez could cement his place in the history books if he can record just one more quality start.
The Houston Astros continue to cruise in the American League West. They are 11.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners and are a shoo-in to win the division. Framber Valdez is being touted by fans as a Cy Young darkhorse. If he can keep up this level of pitching, the future will be bright for the young Dominican pitcher.