Raúl Valdés González
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 190 lb.
Raúl Valdés made his major league debut at age 32.
He pitched for La Habana in the Cuban Serie Nacional. In 1998-1999, he led the league with 193 hits allowed. He was the winning pitcher in the 2001 All-Star game, beating Eliecer Montes de Oca as the Occidentales won the contest.
Valdés left Cuba after six seasons, with a 52-58, 3.61 record and 914 2/3 IP as a workhorse for La Habana. He signed with the Chicago Cubs. He made his Organized Baseball debut in 2004 with the DSL Cubs due to a temporary US embargo on H-2B work visas. He was dominant with 152 K in 87 2/3 IP and a 7-2, 0.51 record. In one game, he struck out 20 batters in just 7 innings. He also hit .241 as a part-time outfielder. He led the DSL in both ERA and strikeouts.
He split 2005 between the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx (2-0, 5.09) and Iowa Cubs (6-7, Sv, 5.93, 135 H in 98 2/3 IP). In 2006, he was with Iowa (1-3, 7.59) and two independent league clubs - the Nashua Pride (2-1, 5.09) and New Jersey Jackals (7-3, 2.81).
After going 2-0 with a 2.02 ERA in the 2009-2010 Dominican League, the portsider was added to the Leones del Escogido for the 2010 Caribbean Series. He went 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA in the Series, which he led in wins, and helped the Leones to the title. He was named the Series's All-Star LHP.
His winter ball stardom earned him another look in Organized Baseball after a two-year absence. The veteran southpaw was back with the Mets chain with the AAA Buffalo Bisons to begin 2010. About a week into the season, he was called up to the majors to replace the injured Sean Green. He became the third veteran hurler over age 30 to debut in the majors as a reliever for the Mets, following Hisanori Takahashi and Ryota Igarashi of Japan. In his debut, he relieved Johan Santana in the 6th and retired his first four batters in The Show - Josh Willingham, Ian Desmond, Wil Nieves and Adam Kennedy. Facing fellow Cuban defector and pitcher Liván Hernández (only 2 years older despite being in his 15th MLB season), he allowed his first hit. Nyjer Morgan followed with a single but Valdés escaped without further harm. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto after two shutout innings.