The LA Angels took a risk in signing corner infielder Luis Valbuena this offseason. It was ranked as one of the worst signing in the MLB at the All-Star break. However, Valbuena is on a tear for the Halos as of late.
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The LA Angels have not had very much luck at first base in recent years. Albert Pujols continues to decline, C.J Cron has not been able to put together a consistent season, and all the other fill-ins could not succeed.
This offseason, they thought they may have found (at least part of) the answer in Luis Valbuena. Able to play both third base and first base, Valbuena had put up solid power numbers for the Astros over the past two years. However, after starting this season injured, Valbuena continued to disappoint more and more as the season went on.
In 56 games before the break, Valbuena was hitting .185 with six home runs and 23 RBI’s. He also had 53 strikeouts to 20 walks. He was one of the Halo players that fans wanted out of the lineup the most, especially with Cron in the minors. However, since the break, the Venezuela native has been one of the team’s best hitters.
In eight games, Valbuena has hit .280 while already hitting five home runs. His slugging percentage has nearly tripled, going from .318 before the break to .920 in the eight games since. He went on a tear this week, hitting a big fly on three straight days for the Halos. He also hit two long balls in a loss to the Rays.
Valbuena has quieted his doubters so far since the break. However, it may be too little too late. The Angels just got swept by the Cleveland Indians despite Valbuena’s heroics. However, this late surge, assuming he does not fall back to his old ways, may keep Valbuena on the roster come 2018.