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Houston Astros No Longer Letting Valdez Call His Own Pitches

It seems like the experiment to let Framber Valdez call his own pitches was ended by the Houston Astros.
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During camp this year, Framber Valdez planned on taking a different approach when on the mound for the Houston Astros in 2024.

After never using the now popular PitchCom device before in his career, he wanted to move into calling some of his own pitches.

The early result was horrendous.

Valdez gave up three earned runs on five hits, one of them being a home run, over 1 1/3 innings pitched.

Not quite what the Astros were hoping for after their ace had a tough back half of the year that carried over into the postseason.

It seems like manager Joe Espada shut things down early after getting a glimpse of what Valdez calling his own pitches might look like.

So, in his second start, the left-hander gave pitch-calling duties back to catcher Yainer Diaz, which resulted in a much better outing.

He went four innings, allowing one earned run on four hits, but also struck out four batters without giving up a walk.

"I said, 'You're still going to throw the pitch you want to regardless of who's pressing the button. So if we could take that from you and have the catcher do it, then you can just focus on executing the pitch or the running game and stuff like that,'" the first-year manager told Matt Young of The Houston Chronicle about this decision.

The feeling to hand pitch-calling back to the catcher seems to have been mutual.

"I think it's the same thing as the catcher calling the pitches himself, but I think it's honestly better just to have him call it and for me to wait for my pitch," Valdez said.

The lefty also added that he likes the way he's progressing so far in camp and will reach where he wants to be before he takes the mound for Opening Day.

Houston is hoping that Valdez can return to the AL Cy Young candidate that he's shown to be throughout his career, and Espada could be a major part in him winning his first award.

It's a great sign that the new manager stepped in early to shut down something that he thinks would have hindered performance.