Houston Astros’ Framber Valdez gives tour of hometown

The left-hander who signed with Houston for just $10,000 in 2015 enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2022, a year in which he led the AL in innings, complete games and home runs allowed per nine innings en route to a fifth-place finish in the AL Cy Young vote. And after struggling mightily in the 2021 World Series, Valdez flipped the script in the most recent edition of the Fall Classic. Houston’s current ace allowed just two earned runs in 12 1/3 innings, including a six-inning, one-earned run outing in the Game 6 clincher.

Valdez didn’t earn World Series MVP honors in early November as the award went to rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña. But after a winding baseball journey in which Valdez was often an overlooked prospect, 2022 marked the achievement of a lifetime. 

Valdez detailed the journey from his home country of the Dominican Republic to baseball’s biggest stage Monday in an interview with MLB Network‘s Yonder Alonso. Valdez and Alonso spent time together in the town of Guayacanes, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, which Valdez considers his adopted hometown. 

“I [came] to Guayacanes as a young man. A town that does not have a single ballplayer who signed,” Valdez told Alonso. “Guayacanes received me, and that is why I am here today as a ballplayer.”

Valdez credits Guayacanes both for shaping him as a young man and for the peace of mind provided by the town during the offseason. Houston’s projected Opening Day starter in 2023 added he enjoys working out on the beaches of Guayacanes, noting the sand is valuable “for strength, for endurance, for stamina.”

Houston’s new staff anchor made sure to give back to his adopted hometown in recent years. He spearheaded the building of a new church in Guayacanes in late 2021, and in meeting with Alonso, Valdez noted “I feel good because I kept my promise.”

Valdez will likely join the Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Thursday as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. He is expected to be on the mound for the 2023 regular-season opener on March 30 as the Astros host the Chicago White Sox

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