2010 Analysis: Raul Valdes
Every time I saw Raul Valdes take the mound, I thought, “how is this guy in the Major Leagues?” His delivery resembles that of a high school shortstop who is thrown into a pitching role because the team has run out of pitchers, and his stuff is marginal at best.
For a while, Valdes seemed to get by – if you judge him by his 1.86 ERA in April. That number is deceiving, however, since during his 9 innings of work in the initial month, he allowed 9 hits (including a homer) and 3 walks, and blew two save opportunities. But something about Valdes (perhaps his smile?) enamored the Mets’ coaching staff, and he hung around for most of the year, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 1.47 WHIP through 38 games and 58 IP. His one positive was an ability to get batters to swing and miss – he struck out 56 in those 58 innings. However, I will go on a limb and say that was more due to batters not seeing him before rather than advanced ability.
The Mets have already dropped Valdes from their roster, and I don’t see him returning to the organization in 2011. Although the Mets have already lost Hisanori Takahashi, and likely will lose Pedro Feliciano this winter, I don’t see them adding him as a lefty specialist – mainly because he was ineffective against lefthanded hitters (who hit .330 with a .991 OPS against him). He is a nice enough guy and definitely a team player who will fill any role asked of him, but he’s simply not very good.