Jose Rafael Valverde graduated from Escuela San Lorenzo in 1997...His brother Jonathan played three seasons at the minor league level with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-2004) and one season with the Diamondbacks (2006)...Two of his uncles played professionally…Jose Mercedes saw action at the major league level with the Milwaukee Brewers (1994-1998), Baltimore Orioles (2000-2001) and Montreal Expos (2003), while Carlos Mercedes played at the minor league level...Participated in a Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids, a Play Baseball Detroit School Rally and as a celebrity dancer in "Dancing with the All-Stars" to benefit Jack's Place for Autism.
Appeared in 20 games for the Tigers, earning nine saves after signing a minor league contract on April 4...Had his contract selected on April 24…Was designated for assignment on June 21, outrighted to the minors on June 27 and was released on August 7.
Finished sixth in the American League with 35 saves...Converted 15 straight save opportunities from July 16-September 15...Posted a 3.12 ERA (12 earned runs/34.2 innings) in 36 outings on the road...Had a 4.46 ERA (17 earned runs/34.1 innings) in 35 appearances at home...Compiled a 3.44 ERA (13 earned runs/34.0 innings) in 35 appearances following the All-Star break...Limited righthanded hitters to a .193 (22-114) batting average...POSTSEASON: Pitched in four postseason games including one World Series game with the Tigers.
Selected to the American League's all-star squad for the second straight season with the Tigers in 2011 as he set aclub record with 49 saves...joined Todd Jones (42 saves in 2000) as the only two pitchers in franchise history to register40-or-more saves during a single season...Tabbed Major League Baseball's Delivery Man of the Year, an honor that recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during the regular season...Topped the American League with 75 appearances and 49 saves...fifth among all league relievers with 72.1 innings pitched, while he finished ninth with a 2.24 ERA and 10th with 69 strikeouts...Appeared in 75 games during the season -- became the 11th pitcher in Tigers history to appear in 70-or-more games...Converted 49 consecutive save opportunities April 3-September 28, marking the longest such streak during a single season in Tigers history -- surpassed Guillermo Hernandez who converted 32 straight save opportunities for the Tigers April 6-September 23, 1984...Became only the third pitcher in major league history to be perfect in all his save opportunities during a single season while posting 40-or-more saves -- Eric Gagne converted all 55 of his save chances for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2003 season, while Brad Lidge converted all 41 of his save opportunities for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008...Earned the Hilton Smith Award from the Negro League Baseball Museum as the American League's Reliever of the Year...Compiled a 2-0 record, 0.84 ERA (10.2IP/1ER) and five saves in 11 outings during April...Registered the 200th save of his career on May 8 at Toronto -- became the 41st pitcher in major league history to record 200 saves...Did not allow a run in 14 straight outings May 29-June 30, tossing 13.1 scoreless innings...Made the 500th appearance of his career on August 27 at Minnesota...Compiled a 0.56 ERA (16.0IP/1ER) over his final 16 outings of the season August 25-September 28...Posted a 1.29 ERA (14.0IP/2ER) and 12 saves in 14 appearances during August -- led the American League with 12 saves during the month...joined Todd Jones as the second Tigers pitcher to post 10-or-more saves during a single month...his 12 saves mark the second-highest monthly total in club history, trailing 13 saves by Jones in May of 2006...Recorded a 0.69 ERA (13.0IP/1ER) and nine saves in 13 outings during September...Limited righthanded hitters to a .158 batting average (18x114)...lefties batted .230 (34x148) against him...Compiled a 1.34 ERA (33.2IP/5ER) in 35 games on the road...posted a 3.03 ERA (38.2IP/13ER) in 40 outings at home...Posted a 1.67 ERA (32.1IP/6ER) and 25 saves in 33 appearances following the all-star break...compiled a 2.70 ERA (40.0IP/12ER) and 24 saves in 42 outings prior to the all-star break.
Finished ninth in the American League with 26 saves during his first season with the Tigers in 2010 as he was selectedto the league's all-star squad....Eighth among all American League relievers with a .184 batting average against and 5.86 hits per nine innings....Did not allow a run in 25 consecutive outings April 8-June 12, tossing 25.1 scoreless innings....Converted 24 consecutive save opportunities April 9-August 21 -- marks the third-longest single-season streak in Tigershistory....Tabbed the Tigers Pitcher of the Month for June after compiling a 0.68 ERA (13.1IP/1ER), seven saves and 16strikeouts in 12 appearances....Fanned a season-high four batters on July 30 at Boston -- equaled the high with four strikeouts on September 2 atMinnesota....Established a career high with three innings of relief on September 2 at Minnesota....Limited lefthanded batters to a .165 batting average (19x115)...righties hit .204 (22x108) against him....Compiled a 0.92 ERA (39.0IP/4ER) in 39 appearances prior to the all-star break...posted a 6.38 ERA (24.0IP/17ER) in21 outings following the all-star break.
Completed his second season with the Houston Astros in 2009, posting 25 saves in 52 appearances...Sidelined April 27-June 13 with a right calf strain -- assigned to Double A Corpus Christi for two outings as part of aninjury rehabilitation assignment June 10-13...Converted 19 consecutive save opportunities July 6-September 27...Second among all National League relievers with nine saves during August...Limited righthanded batters to a .144 batting average (15x104)...lefties hit .281 (25x89) against him...Compiled a 0-2 record, 3.43 ERA (21.0IP/8ER) and eight saves in 22 appearances prior to the all-star break...posteda 4-0 record, 1.64 ERA (33.0IP/6ER) and 17 saves in 30 outings following the all-star break.
Finished 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA (27ER/72.0IP) and 44 saves in a career-high 74 appearances for Houston...held left-handedhitters to a .190 (23x121) batting average and all hitters to .225 (62x276)...the Astros were 60-14 in games in which he pitched...led the National League with 44 saves and ranked second in the Majors, trailing only the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez (62)...tiedBilly Wagner (2003) for the Houston franchise record for saves in a single season...recorded 40 saves in back-to-back seasonsand has led the NL in saves in consecutive seasons (47 saves in 2007)...posted a streak of 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings fromAug. 9-Sept. 25...also recorded a 17.2 consecutive scoreless innings streak from April 20-May 21...was the only 2008 Astrospitcher to post multiple consecutive scoreless innings streaks of 17.0-or-more innings...was also the only NL pitcher record twoconsecutive scoreless innings streaks among the top 25 in 2008...posted a streak of 18 consecutive successful save chances fromJuly 25-Sept. 25...successfully converted 19 of his last 20 save chances, in addition to 28 of 31 since June 20...was 1-0 with 17saves and a 0.46 ERA (1ER/19.2IP) in his last 21 appearances since Aug. 9...recorded a save in a franchise-record 15 consecutiveappearances from Aug. 9-Sept. 10 (previous: 10, Dave Smith, Oct. 1, 1985-May 2, 1986)...15 consecutive appearances with a savewas the longest streak in the Majors in 2008...posted a 0.70 ERA (2ER/25.2IP) from July 25 until the end of the season (27 games)...selected as the winner of the "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award" for August...recorded10 saves and a 0.64 ERA (1ER/14IP) in 14 August appearances...10 August saves tied the club record for saves during August(Billy Wagner, 2002)...tied a club record and ranked tied for second in the NL with seven June saves...recorded his 15th save of theseason on May 23 after being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Pedro Feliz...finished tied for the MLB lead with 10 savesin May, the second-most saves during the month in club history (Wagner, 11 in 2003)...tossed a scoreless 9th inning for his 100thcareer save on April 20 vs. COL...became the 21st active pitcher in MLB with 100-plus career saves and the 114th all-time.
Set career-highs in saves (47), games (65) and strikeouts (78) in 2007...posted the third-lowest ERA of his career (2.66)...selected to his first career All-Star game as a reserve pitcher, but did not appear in the game...was the Major League leader in saves with 47, closing out two more games than second-place Joe Borowski of Cleveland...his 47 saves ranks tied for 15th with five other players on the all-time list for saves in a single season...the total ranks tied for eighth among active players...named National League Player of the Week for May 13-19, going 3-for-3 in save opportunities, with four strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched...broke the single-season franchise record for saves with his 37th on August 16 at Florida (the previous record was 36 set by Byung-Hyun Kim in 2002)...on June 23 against Baltimore, collected his 75th save as a D-back, passing Matt Mantei for first-place in franchise history...recorded a franchise record four saves in four consecutive games from September 5-9...converted a season-high 11 consecutive save opportunities from May 6-June 6, including three saves in three days (May 19-21) for the second time in 2007, also from April 16-18 (ninth time in franchise history)...finished May with 19 saves, tops in the Major Leagues...went seven of eight in save opportunities with a 0.87 ERA (1ER/10.1IP) in June...picked up his first win of the season on August 1 at San Diego, tossing 2.0 innings, allowing two runs while striking out a season-high four...held opponents to a .196 average, ranking 18th in the Majors and ninth in the National League.
Valverde started the season as Arizona's closer and converted 14 saves in 17 opportunities over the first two months of the season. He later lost the job to Jorge Julio, who was acquired from the Mets. After spending six weeks with Triple-A Tucson to regain his confidence, Valverde earned back his old role. He finished the year with a career-high 5.84 ERA and posted a 2-3 mark. He led the team with a career-high 18 saves in 22 opportunities.
Led the team in saves with 15. ... Took over the closer's role from Brian Bruney. ... Was 15-for-17 in save situations. ... Finished the year with 16 scoreless innings. ... Held opponents to a .113 average during month of September.
For the second straight season, Jose stepped into the closer's role when Matt Mantei was sidelined by injury...this time,however, Jose was also bitten by the injury bug that plagued the ball club throughout the season...prior to succumbing to ashoulder injury, he was 1-2 with 8 saves in 10 opportunities...after 29 appearances, Valverde was placed on the disabled listretroactive to June 14 with right shoulder tendinitis...it was later determined that he had a small tear in the labrum in hisright shoulder, which was repaired arthroscopically by Dr. Michael Lee on September 9...Jose had a tough '04 debut yielding4 hits and 3 runs to the Rockies on April 6, but over his next 9 outings, he limited the opposition to a .100 average (3-for-30) allowing 2 earned runs over 9.0 innings...he recorded 31 strikeouts over 18.2 frames, spanning 17 appearances fromApril 27-June 10...he scuffled through an 8-game stretch from May 10-29, going 0-2 with a save, 2 blown saves and 8.59ERA...Jose broke out of that slump with a 6-5 victory over the Giants on June 1, then converted saves in 5 straight outingsfrom June 2-13 before landing on the disabled list...for the season, he averaged 11.53 strikeouts per 9-innings, ninth amonghurlers with as many innings...he limited lefthanded batters to a .152 average (7-for-46) and allowed 1 home run, whilerighties batted .258 (16-for-62) with 6 roundtrippers.
Jose spent the season's first 2 months with Triple-A Tucson before making his Major League debut and becoming one of the most dominant relievers in the game ... he led NL rookies with 10 saves, recording 71 strikeouts in 50.1 frames for a 12.70 K's per 9-innings ratio, second only to the Dodgers' Eric Gagne (14.98) among pitchers with over 50.0 innings pitched ... opponents hit .137 (24-for-175) against Jose, also second to Gagne (.133) among all pitchers ... Jose limited righties to a .112 mark (11-for-98 with 49 K's) while lefties hit .169 (13-for-77, 22 K's) ... first batters were just 5-for-44 (.114) against him, second among all relievers ... his ability to work out of jams became obvious as opponents hit only .077 (1-for-13) against him with the bases loaded and he stranded 22 of 27 inherited runners ... the 23-year old pitched in 22 minor league games during April and May, going 1-1 with 5 saves, a 3.10 ERA, a .236 opponents average and 26 strikeouts in 29.0 innings ... he was recalled on June 1 when Mike Koplove went on the disabled list and debuted that day at San Diego, striking out the side in the ninth while allowing 2 walks and 2 hits, including a solo home run by Mark Loretta ... Jose took over duties as the team's closer while Matt Mantei was sidelined and converted all 9 save chances he had during June, finishing the month 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 14.0 innings while holding opponents to a .163 average (8-for-49) ... his work earned him the National League Rolaids Pitcher of the Month award for June, beating out Eric Gagne in a tie-breaker ... Valverde was the focal point during the team record 12-game winning streak from June 18-30, appearing 9 times, recording 6 saves and his first Major League win while allowing only 4 hits in 9.0 innings with 8 K's ... the victory came on June 20 against Cincinnati as Arizona rallied for 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth ... he went 1-0 with 4 saves in 5 appearances from June 16-22 to share the NL Player-of-the-Week honors with Florida's Dontrelle Willis, becoming the first rookie in Diamondback history to win the award ... he established club records for the month of June with 14 games finished and 9 saves ... he did not allow an earned run over 18 appearances, spanning 16.0 frames, from June 15-July 23 ... he struck out the side in the eighth inning at Florida on July 29, beginning a stretch in which 42 of the final 84 outs he recorded came via strikeouts ... Jose dominated the opposition in August, limiting opponents to a .100 average (5-for-50) with 19 strikeouts ... he inherited jams in back-to-back games on August 7 and 8 and escaped with no damage while stranding 5 inherited runners ... Valverde was 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA over 29 games, totaling 25.2 innings from June 15-August 12 ... Jose was charged with his only blown save of the season and took the loss on August 26 against the Padres when he permitted an inherited runner to score the tying run and later allowed a run of his own ... the first run snapped Jose's streak of stranding 11 straight inherited runners since July 26 ... he allowed only 1 run over 14.1 innings of work for a 0.63 ERA in 14 games from August 16-September 11 ... he retired all 6 batters faced in a season-high 2.0 innings on September 6 in San Francisco ... he cleaned up Stephen Randolph's bases-loaded jam on September 20 in Milwaukee with a strikeout to end the eighth and closed out the game with a scoreless ninth for his 10th save, breaking Bret Prinz' club rookie record of 9 (2001) ... Jose also delivered a double in the top of the ninth for his first career hit ... Jose was victimized by the long ball in back-to-back appearances on September 24 & 26 ... Todd Helton hit a solo homer in Colorado and 2 nights later the Cardinals' Tino Martinez smacked a 2-run shot ... opponents hit .099 (9-for-91) against Jose over the season's final two months ... he recorded at least one strikeout in 43 of 54 games ... he excelled at Bank One Ballpark, going 2-1 with a 1.04 ERA and 5 saves in 27 games while posting a 3.33 ERA and 5 saves in 27 road contests.How obtained:
Signed as a non-drafted free agent, February 6, 1997.
Following a season that was cut short due to an elbow injury, Jose returned to the mound having moved up another notch in Arizona's farm system to Tucson (AAA) ... he struggled at the outset, going 0-2 with no saves and a 14.04 ERA (16 ER in 10.0 IP) in an 11-game stretch from April 6-May 29, though a back strain landed him on the disabled list for 3 weeks of that span (May 4-24) ... once healthy his numbers improved dramatically, going 1-0 with 5 saves in 17 games from June 1-July 11, limiting opponents to a .143 average (9-for-63) and fanning 30 batters in 18.2 frames ... he finished 12 of the 17 games, which included 15 scoreless appearances while holding opposing batters hitless in 12 of those affairs ... he notched his first victory of the season on June 3 at Las Vegas, closing out the game with 2.0 shutout innings ... Jose held the opposition hitless in 7.1 shutout innings and had 3 saves over a span of 7 games from June 6-June 18 ... on the road he allowed 11 runs (9 earned) in 23.1 innings and a .222 opponents average (18-for-81) ... he was tough on righthanded hitters, holding them to a .204 clip (21-for-103) with 44 K's ... June was his best month against opponents as they hit only .149 (7-for-47) with 24 strikeouts and 5 walks ... Jose fanned at least 1 batter in 38 of his 49 appearances, including a string of 22 consecutive games with a strikeout from April 27-July 11 ... he appeared in 13 games last winter for Azucareros of the Dominican League.
Jose had a promising campaign cut short due to a season-ending elbow injury ... he had shuffled between rookie and A-ball for 4 seasons before being thrust into the closer role at El Paso (AA), where he posted an amazing 15.68 strikeouts per 9-inning ratio ... he went 1-0 with 5 saves while posting a 0.54 ERA (1 ER in 16.2 IP) with 29 K's in his first 15 games at the AA level ... he held opponents scoreless in 11 consecutive contests (13.0 IP) from April 16-May 12, striking out 22 and walking 8 ... he did not lose a game until June 5, a span of 24 games and 24.0 innings ... a member of the World All-Stars team at the Futures Game in Seattle during the All-Star break, he also nailed down AA All-Star honors ... he made only one more appearance following the Futures Game, tossing 1.0 shutout inning on July 20, before he was shelved for the remainder of the season ... he was most effective with runners on base, holding opponents to a .181 (17-for-94) average, and was equally impressive with runners in scoring position as opposing hitters batted .159 (10-for-63) ... he limited righthanded hitters to a .183 (21-for-115) average with 50 strikeouts ... he was ranked as the tenth best Texas League prospect by Baseball America while named sixth best in the Arizona organization.
He led South Bend (A) with 14 saves and ranked third among Midwest League relievers with 11.09 strikeouts per 9-inning ratio ... he did not allow a run over 11 appearances and converted 9-of-9 save opportunities from May 7-June 5 ... he was disabled from July 10-29 with right shoulder strain ... he transferred to Missoula (R) after activation from the disabled list ... he dominated the Pioneer League by striking out 24 in 11.2 innings, holding the opposition to a .075 average and not allowing a run.
A reliever for the Rookie League club in Tucson, he ranked second in the league in saves (8), games finished (17) and Rolaids relief points (22) ... he led relief pitchers with 14.76 strikeouts per 9-inning ... he was rated by Baseball America as the No. 4 prospect in the Arizona League.