The Detroit Tigers have until May 8 to decide whether or not they want to add veteran reliever Jose Valverde to their major league roster (he can opt out of his minor league deal after that date), so there’s still lots of time left for him to show that he’s ready, but his statistical line after his first two innings of minor league ball is less than impressive.
It will be the scouts and coaches who ultimately determine if he’s ready to help out the big league club, not the strict numbers — they’re looking for velocity, command, and effective use of his secondary offerings (the splitter) — but we can look at the numbers to try to gain some insight. His pitching line so far: 2 IP, 2 BB, 1 K. He hasn’t allowed a hit — which isn’t a discouraging fact — but a small sample observation of Valverde suppressing the BABIP of minor league hitters isn’t anything to suggest his return to the major leagues would be a success. Again, we’re talking the tiniest of samples here, but the numbers to watch will be the walk and strikeout numbers.
It’s not encouraging that he’s issued a free pass in both of his appearances, and it’s not encouraging that he’s only punched out one batter. In order to be promoted to the Detroit bullpen, he should be striking out (at least) a batter per inning and walking no more than one ever three innings.
We can’t make any conclusions at this point — two innings is two innings — but it will be interesting to track his progress. If he’s not dominating in the minors, there won’t be reason to expect him to do so in the majors.