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Key Stats: The 54 innings last year was the lowest output in terms of innings Jose Valverde has had since 2006. The save total of 25 was also the lowest since 2006. On the surface the innings and saves numbers seem to correlate perfectly with one another, but in fact they don’t. Since becoming a full-time closer in 2007, Valverde had earned the following ratios in terms of innings per save.

2007 – 1.36
2008 – 1.63
2009 – 2.16

In addition to the lowered innings total as a result of battling injuries, Valverde’s season proved especially unlucky in terms of getting opportunities for saves when he was ready to pitch.

Skeptics Say: Why is the market to sign him so small if he’s so good? Clearly there’s something that teams see and while none of them would openly come out and say it in a courageous voice, it is there. It could be the calf or it could be something else (team chemistry, arm angles, etc.). At any rate, when those teams that are more in the know are not interested it goes a long way to lowering my own interest.

Peer Comparison: There were two basic criteria for relief pitchers to get in Yahoo’s top 100 last season. One of those criteria was to strikeout more than one batter per inning. Of the pitchers who got in the top 100, only Trevor Hoffman didn’t record a strikeout per 9 rate over 9. Valverde has had better than a strikeout per inning his whole career, so that won’t be an issue for him in 2010. The other criteria to get in the top 100 was to save 35 plus games. Among the ten closers that wound up in the Yahoo top 100, only Andrew Bailey finished with less than 35 saves. Getting those saves will be this issue again fo Valverde, but assuming good health (more below) he should get it done.

Team Outlook: The Diamondbacks have tried this before and could try it again. If he could go back to the pitcher friendly parks (minus Coors) and weak lineups of the NL West that would be terrific for his value.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #20 Relief Pitcher; ESPN.com: #134 Overall; Yahoo: #9 Relief Pitcher and #121 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #137 Overall; FB 365: #10 Relief Pitcher

Projection: The injury that caused Valverde to miss the time last year was a calf strain. Not exactly the highest conern for owners worried about taking risks at the pitcher spot. And he returned from that injury in June to pitch successfully.
38 saves 2.54 ERA 1.19 WHIP 79K in 71.1 innings

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2 Responses to Jose Valverde Player Projection No. 97

  1. John says:

    Valverde probably messed up financialy by not accepting arbitration.

    I'm surprised he's being ranked so low compared to other closers. In the two seasons prior to last year he had 47 and 44 saves on Arizona and Houston. While his numbers in innings and saves were down last year with the injury his rate stats were the best of his career.

    As always I think you did a great job on the projection numbers.

  2. Schruender says:

    Yeah he definitely is missing out financially here. He should have taken a page from Rafael Soriano in that regard.

    Yeah the only thing I can see as to why he's being so low is that he's going to have a fast fall from grace, but I don't see it coming. Really he's one of the more consistent performers from an inconsistent position and if anything his value should be slightly higher than what he'll end up being worth.

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