Valbuena with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017
|Los Angeles Angels – No. 18|
|Third baseman / Second baseman / First baseman|
November 30, 1985 |
|September 2, 2008, for the Seattle Mariners|
(through September 4, 2017)
|Runs batted in||322|
Luis Adan Valbuena (born November 30, 1985) is a Venezuelan professional baseball third baseman for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball. He previously played for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros. While primarily a third baseman, Valbuena has also played second base and first 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.
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, the Cubs traded Valbuena and Dan Straily to the Houston Astros for Dexter Fowler. At the time of the trade, Valbuena was projected as the Astros starting third baseman for 2015. Valbuena's average dropped to .224 in 2015, but he set a career-high with 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 player Marwin González in order to get some playing time.
At the beginning of the 2016 season, Valbuena was the starting third baseman for the Astros. He began to split playing time between first and third base. With the call up of Astros prospect Alex Bregman, Valbuena has seen more playing time at first base.
Los Angeles Angels
- De Jesus Ortiz, Jose (March 15, 2015). "Astros newcomer Valbuena accustomed to adapting". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- Jim Street (September 1, 2008). "Mariners' roster swells". Retrieved September 2, 2008.
- "Indians, Mariners, Mets complete trade". mlb.com. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
- "Tribe calls up touted prospect Jason Kipnis". mlb.com. July 22, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
- Luis Valbuena Statistics and History. Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- "Luis Valbuena is suddenly a line-drive machine". Fangraphs. June 17, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- Baer, Bill (January 19, 2015). "Cubs acquire Dexter Fowler in a trade with the Astros". NBC Sports.
- Dexter Fowler trade: Meet Luis Valbuena, the Astros' newest infielder. Crawfish Boxes. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- Kramer, Daniel (January 24, 2017). "Angels finalize 2-year deal with Valbuena". MLB.com. Retrieved January 24, 2017.