Raúl Valdés: The pitcher who, at almost 44 years old, triumphs in a league designed for young people

Raúl Valdés: The pitcher who, at almost 44 years old, triumphs in a league designed for young people

The serpentine player of Cuban origin has become one of the insignia of the corps of Toros del Este starters close to the surprising age of 44

Raul Valdes He is one of the best known pitchers in Dominican winter baseball. He arrived as an imported pitcher to the ball of the Caribbean country as a young man of 26 years, together with the Giants of the Cibao in 2003.

Eventually, he decided to nationalize as a Dominican and was selected in the Rookie Draft of the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) in 2008, during the fourth round and a year later, he would become part of the Bulls of the East, a team with which he launched in 2004 and won the award for Pitcher of the Year.

From that moment on, Valdes has been one of the faces that year after year unifies with the Bulls. He has participated in every season since his return to the La Romana squad in 2009. He has also reinforced other teams in the postseason stage, so the veteran pitcher’s value is recognized throughout the league.

And if that was not enough, Valdes He was part of the Dominican Republic team that last summer managed to reach the first Olympic medal in baseball in the country’s history. Further validating his status as a recognized pitcher. Additionally, he had a brief stint in MLB where he reached four seasons, between 2010 and 2014.

With just a few days to reach 44 years, the pitcher of the Bulls he’s having another great season with solid numbers like a 2.10 ERA in five games (25.2 innings of work), 22 strikeouts off nine walks and 16 hits allowed, which translates to a .0.97 WHIP.

In total, throughout his career in LIDOM, the pitcher that many fans refer to as “Rubber Arm”, thanks to his ability to throw a high number of pitches, despite his age, has worked for 1,020.1 innings, maintaining an ERA of 2.75, a WHIP of 1.16 , a 3.19 FIP and a record of 65 wins and 55 losses (in 179 games), with 798 strikeouts and 281 walks.

The success these numbers demonstrate is not due to his being able to shoot at high speeds, but to an enviable savvy and knowledge of the strike zone that allows him a deadly combination of breaking pitching that has wreaked havoc in the league. This strategy has made it outperform other resounding names that debuted and retired over the last 18 years in terms of duration.

In a league where youth are highly valued, especially for building team nuclei, the feat of Valdes It is nothing short of surprising. Not only does he defy time with his success, he beats all odds for a pitcher his age. As things are going and to continue with consistency and health, it remains Raul Valdes for a while, which fans of the Bulls and fear some teams of LIDOM.

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