Luis Valbuena
Luis Valbuena
32-Year-Old Third Baseman3B
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Valbuena wasted a career-high 19.0 percent HR/FB, recording a career-worst 14.3 percent line drive rate. While he hit 22 homers in just 401 plate appearances, the low line drive rate combined with a 26.4 percent strikeout rate torpedoed his average to a meager .199. Valbuena typically struggled in the few chances versus southpaws (.423 OPS in 38 at-bats), but the lefty-swinging cornerman usually makes it up versus right-handers. However, despite 21 homers with a righty on the hill, a .210 average in that scenario was a category buzzkill. With everyone hitting 20-something homers nowadays, a batting average bounce back is needed for Valbuena to be useful, even in AL-only leagues. While a .210 BABIP should push more towards his career .262 mark, a five-year trend of increasing strikeouts tempers the rebound. The Angels signed Zack Cozart to play third base and Shohei Ohtani will occasionally DH, pushing Albert Pujols to first base on occasion, and likely limiting Valbuena to a part-time role off the bench. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year contract with the Angels in January of 2017. Released by the Angels in August of 2018.
Released by Angels
3BFree Agent  
August 7, 2018
Valbuena was released by the Angels on Tuesday.
ANALYSIS
Unsurprisingly, no team wanted to claim a 32-year-old who hasn't reached the Mendoza Line in two seasons. He has done enough earlier in his career for him to latch on somewhere on a minor-league deal, but he's unlikely to make a significant fantasy impact unless he makes an unexpected turnaround.
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Batting Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
 
 
+14%
OPS vs RHP
2018
 
 
+15%
OPS vs LHP
2017
 
 
+81%
OPS vs RHP
2016
 
 
+13%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2016vs Left .639 175 10 4 17 0 .215 .297 .342
Since 2016vs Right .731 856 93 40 121 4 .220 .305 .426
2018vs Left .661 40 2 1 2 0 .222 .300 .361
2018vs Right .576 248 21 8 31 3 .196 .246 .330
2017vs Left .423 47 2 1 6 0 .105 .213 .211
2017vs Right .765 354 40 21 59 0 .210 .305 .460
2016vs Left .741 88 6 2 9 0 .267 .341 .400
2016vs Right .841 254 32 11 31 1 .258 .362 .479
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
 
 
+11%
OPS at Home
2018
 
 
+15%
OPS at Home
2017
 
 
+6%
OPS on Road
2016
 
 
+27%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2016Home .755 501 57 25 74 2 .228 .311 .444
Since 2016Away .679 530 46 19 64 2 .210 .297 .382
2018Home .630 135 12 6 21 1 .205 .244 .386
2018Away .549 153 11 3 12 2 .194 .261 .288
2017Home .706 191 22 10 31 0 .194 .288 .418
2017Away .745 210 20 12 34 0 .203 .300 .445
2016Home .911 175 23 9 22 1 .286 .387 .524
2016Away .718 167 15 4 18 0 .234 .325 .393
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Stat Review
How does Luis Valbuena compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
BB/K
0.19
 
BB Rate
6.6%
 
K Rate
34.7%
 
BABIP
.277
 
ISO
.135
 
AVG
.199
 
OBP
.253
 
SLG
.335
 
OPS
.588
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
Games By Position
Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
The Astros were Valbuena's fourth organization in his career, but he has stuck with each organization for at least two seasons and his age-30 campaign was the best of his career. Valbuena has long posted impressive walk totals without killing anyone in strikeouts, but his career BABIP of .268 has killed his overall line, and his .315 mark of 2016 was the first sample of more than 55 plate appearances with a BABIP greater than .300 (considered league average) in his career. His pull-happy power is predictable if nothing else: of his 13 home runs in 2016, 12 were sent down the right-field line. Valbuena brings enough pop to the plate to keep opposing pitchers honest, having ripped as many as 53 extra-base hits in a season (that was in 2014) and his versatility to play either infield corner should provide him with enough opportunities to make a dent. However, after signing with the Angels over the offseason, he's expected to compete with C.J. Cron for playing time at first base, which is a battle that certainly isn't a sure win for Valbuena.
The Astros rewarded Valbuena for his hot spring (.380 average), inserting him as their everyday third baseman to open 2015, but he quickly fell into a platoon at the position due to his struggles at the plate against lefties (.158 BAA). A flyball-heavy approach resulted in career-highs in home runs (25) and RBI (56), and while 44 percent of his hits went for extra bases, Valbuena finished with a poor .224 batting average. The 30-year-old would be best suited to remain in a platoon, but general manager Jeff Luhnow said in the offseason that Valbuena will play every day between first base and third in 2016.
Valbuena was quietly one of the most valuable players on the Cubs in 2014, hitting 16 home runs and drawing 65 walks, all while playing two valuable infield positions. Traded to Houston in January, a similar role in 2015 seems likely, but the long-term future for Valbuena remains uncertain. He'll qualify at third base and second base in most leagues in 2015, but with uber-prospect Carlos Correa moving through the Astros' system, it would hardly be surprising to see Valbuena on the move again before Opening Day of 2016 as he seems to be a viable placeholder for rebuilding clubs.
Valbuena backed into the starting job at third base to start last season when Ian Stewart wasn't ready. He he went on to hit 12 home runs in 331 at-bats, but Valbuena wasn't really the answer either. His 53:63 BB:K ratio gives him some value on the diamond, but there isn't a whole lot to recommend in the fantasy world. He will probably compete with Donnie Murphy and perhaps Mike Olt for a job at the hot corner in the spring, but it's only a matter of time before Christian Villanueva and/or Kris Bryant arrive, so Valbuena's days could be numbered.
After a strong showing in 211 Triple-A at-bats, Valbuena saw semi-regular work as the Cubs' third baseman, but struggled in that role, posting just a .650 OPS in 265 at-bats. Nonetheless, he managed 20 doubles and 36 walks in that span, and was largely derailed by a poor BABIP, some of which could regress positively to the mean should Valbuena get another chance. Assuming the Cubs don't sign a free-agent at the position, it's likely Valbuena will battle Ian Stewart for the job this spring, and eventually Josh Vitters, Javier Baez and/or Junior Lake could also be in the mix.
Valbuena spent most of his time at Triple-A Columbus last season after failing to earn a roster spot in spring training, hitting .302 with 22 doubles and 17 homers in 113 games. He struggled in a couple of brief looks with the Indians, following the trend he established the previous season. The Blue Jays acquired him for cash in the offseason where he'll look to resurrect his career. If the results at Triple-A (career .304/.387/.468 in 937 plate appearances) are any indication, there may be a useful utility player buried here.
Valbuena started the season as the team's starting second baseman but got demoted after an ugly start and didn't fare much better upon his recall. It all added up to an ugly .193/.273/.258 season and clouds his future as an everyday option for Cleveland. He'll likely back up second base, shortstop and third base for the Indians unless he has a torrid spring. There's not enough power and speed here to warrant much of a look.
Valbuena was thrust into everyday duties following the trade of Mark DeRosa and quite simply wasn't ready to swim quite yet. A quick start at Triple-A (.321/.436/.538) opened up some organizational eyes and earned himself a promotion, but he likely was better served staying at Triple-A for the full season. He hit .250/.298/.416 but showed enough pop (10 homers) to give him the inside track on the second base job as spring opens. Considering the others options are non-roster invitee Luis Rodriguez and seeing what the heck former keystoner Jerry Browne is up to nowadays it's probably his job to lose.
Valbuena had a breakout season in 2008. After hitting .239 in 2007 at Double-A with 83 strikeouts in 122 games, Valbuena hit .304 last season with 37 strikeouts and 31 walks, earning a promotion to Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit .302 with 32 strikeouts and 28 walks. Combined, he had 34 extra-base hits. He then impressed with his defense in a September call-up to Seattle. He was traded to the Indians in the three-way deal that sent J.J. Putz to the Mets. Valbuena needs more seasoning and needs to develop more power, but he might get a shot at second base with the Tribe, allowing Asdrubal Cabrera to play short and Jhonny Peralta to play third.
More Fantasy News
Designated for assignment
3BLos Angeles Angels  
August 5, 2018
The Angels designated Valbuena for assignment Sunday, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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Not regaining starting role
3BLos Angeles Angels  
August 4, 2018
Valbuena will sit for the second straight game Saturday against Cleveland, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports.
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Out of Friday's lineup
3BLos Angeles Angels  
August 3, 2018
Valbuena is not in the lineup against the Indians on Friday.
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Path to playing time re-opens following trade
3BLos Angeles Angels  
July 31, 2018
Valbuena could regain regular playing time following Ian Kinsler's trade to the Red Sox on Monday, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports.
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Falls out of favor
3BLos Angeles Angels  
July 29, 2018
Valbuena was not in the starting lineup for the third consecutive game, going 0-for-1 off the bench in Saturday's win over Seattle.
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