The Houston Astros continue to find diamonds in the rough to add to their roster each year.
In 2015, the Astros took a chance on a 21-year-old left-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic.
That pitcher was Framber Valdez.
Most players from the DR sign with MLB teams around 17 or 18 but Valdez was the outlier.
Plenty of other MLB teams did not want to sign Valdez because of his age and how long it would take him to develop.
But, this signing by Houston is looking like one of the best international signings in recent years.
Now, Valdez has become one of the best two pitchers on the Astros and is in the middle of the AL Cy Young race.
The 28-year-old lefty is on a historic run of late.
To record a quality start, the starting pitcher must pitch at least six innings and allow three runs or fewer.
Each of those other three pitchers won the Cy Young award in the year that accomplished the feat.
The only issue for Valdez is that he is battling teammate, Justin Verlander for the award.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 31, 2022
But, with Verlander recently being placed on the 15-day injured list, this is the perfect time for Valdez to pass him.
Having 22 straight quality starts is the definition of consistent.
He has been a workhorse all year for Houston, leading the American League in innings pitched with 164.0.
Valdez also has plenty of more stats to back up his production.
The lefty is fifth in the AL in ERA with a 2.63, second in wins with 14, and first in complete games with two.
Also, his ability to limit home runs has him first in the league in HR/9 with .494.
Valdez has already broken the Astros record for most quality starts.
Also, he has broken the record for most by a left-handed pitcher.
Now, all that is left is for him to break the single-season MLB record of 24.
Framber Valdez tied with Hall of Famer Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter for the second-longest streak of quality starts (22) in a season in MLB history since 1913. Graphic from @ATTSportsNetSW: pic.twitter.com/XHMC1gkWqH
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 31, 2022
With only one month left to play in the season, Valdez will have enough time to break the record in September.
His next three starts are expected to come against the Rangers, Angels, and Athletics, all at home.
The Astros can not ask for much else from Valdez.
He has taken over the league and provided the best team in the AL with another great starter.
The ascension of the lefty will give Houston the best one-two punch in the American League playoffs.
Valdez has been dominant against lefties this season, including a .178 batting average against.
Along with a .22 batting average against righties.
Valdez is not a strikeout pitcher, yet he still finds a way to consistently get people out.
All eyes will be on Valdez as he chases history this final month of the season.
If he does break the quality start record he will have a great case to capture his first Cy Young.
The first-year all-star is having a season for the ages and he is showing no signs of slowing down.