Valbuena with the Houston Astros
|Houston Astros – No. 18|
|Third baseman / Second baseman|
November 30, 1985 |
|September 2, 2008, for the Seattle Mariners|
(through July 24, 2016)
|Runs batted in||269|
Luis Adan Valbuena (born November 30, 1985) is a Venezuelan professional baseball third baseman for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in MLB for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs. While primarily a third baseman, Valbuena has also played second base.
Valbuena grew up in Sucre, a municipality in the Venezuelan state of Zulia. He was raised by a single mother named Nelly, who was the president of the local youth baseball league. Valbuena's older brother and several uncles also helped him to learn to play baseball.
Valbuena began his professional career in the Seattle Mariners organization in 2005. He was first promoted to the major leagues on September 1, 2008, from the Mariners' Triple-A team, the Tacoma Rainiers.
Valbuena's first Major League home run came off of Bartolo Colón.
In August 2011, Valbuena was recalled after Kipnis was put on the disabled list with an oblique injury. He was designated for assignment and removed from the 40-man roster on November 18, 2011. On November 26, 2011, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations.
On April 4, 2012, Valbuena was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs after being optioned by the Blue Jays. He was outrighted to the minors on April 7. Valbuena was called up from the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on June 14. He became a fan favorite in Chicago due to his batflips after hitting home runs.
Valbuena played 108 games for Chicago in 2013, hitting .218 with 12 home runs and 37 runs batted in (RBI). The next year, Valbuena's batting average increased to .249 over 149 games and he had 16 home runs and 51 RBI. By June 2014, Fangraphs noted that Valbuena was hitting fastballs well in the lower, outer portions of the strike zone, which had been a weakness for him in previous years.
On January 19, 2015, he was traded to the Houston Astros along with Dan Straily, for Dexter Fowler. At the time of the trade, Valbuena was projected as the Astros starting third baseman for 2015. Luis Valbuena's average dropped to .224 in 2015, but his home run totals increased in the hitter friendly Minute Maid Park as he mashed 25 home runs. With Jed Lowrie coming off the disabled list and Carlos Correa taking over the primary shortstop position, Valbuena was forced to share some of the first base duties along with Chris Carter and utility-man Marwin Gonzalez in order to get some playing time.
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- Luis Valbuena Statistics and History. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
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- Dexter Fowler trade: Meet Luis Valbuena, the Astros' newest infielder. Crawfish Boxes. Retrieved April 10, 2015.