Luis Valbuena has been one of the Chicago Cubs’ best players this season and it’s time that someone recognized it. Valbuena is having a career year so far, posting a slash line of .282/.378/.451 with four home runs and 19 doubles.
Luis Valbuena began his professional career ten years ago with the Seattle Mariners A (short season) affiliate and has played well at every minor league stop since then. Valbuena has posted an average over .300 in each of the last five seasons that he spent at AAA, dating back to 2008. However, Valbuena’s minor league success never followed him to the big league level until now. His inability to reproduce his minor league success made for abbreviated stints and limited playing time with the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians. He also struggled mightily in his first two years with the Cubs. But something clicked this year. Maybe it was the very real chance to win a starting job that motivated the 28-year-old infielder. Maybe it has something to do with Rick Renteria, the Cubs’ first-year skipper. But whatever it is, the Cubs are reaping the benefits.
Valbuena probably won’t be an all-star (although his name is, at least, worth mentioning) and he probably won’t lead the Cubs’ to a strong finish in the second half, but he may be working his way into the team’s future plans. Valbuena could be a very handy guy to have on the roster if the Cubs’ infield prospects stumble out of the gate in the coming years. Heck, if he keeps playing like this he might even force his way into a starting job! So here’s to you, Luis Valbuena! Keep tearing it up!
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