After spending 2010 in visa limbo and clearing up who he actually is, the erstwhile Luis Valdez returned to doing what he normally does for the AAA Braves, saving games with a minimum of fuss. It was probably his best year in the minors, 26 saves, a 1.81 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, the majors were not as kind. In three brief callups, he posted a 6.97 ERA only because three runs against him were called “unearned”. In six appearances, he only once failed to allow a hit; three times he allowed four hits and one time three. In his last appearance, he allowed six runs, three of them “earned”, against the weak-hitting Padres. After that, the Braves pretty much ignored his good work in Gwinnett and were willing to try anyone else in a setup role.
Maybe he is just a AAAA pitcher. It happens. But he’s pitched well ever since the Braves picked him up from the Pirates, and he wouldn’t be the first pitcher who started off badly only to turn it around. He’s in the bullpen mix for one of the last jobs.