Cesar Miguel Valdez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.
Valdez was signed by scout Junior Noboa for the Diamondbacks at the somewhat advanced age of 20. He debuted as a pro with the 2005 DSL Diamondbacks, going 3-4 with two saves and a 2.59 ERA and striking out 45 in 31 1/3 innings while walking only three. In 2006, Valdez went 7-5 with a 3.15 ERA for the Yakima Bears, with only 20 walks in 97 innings. He led the Northwest League in innings pitched (97), complete games (2, tied), hits allowed (97) and strikeouts (81), tied for third in wins and was 9th in ERA. Adam Cowart was named the NWL's All-Star right-handed pitcher. Baseball America did not rate him among the league's top 20 prospects.
In 2007, Cesar fell to 7-10, 3.41 for the South Bend Silver Hawks. He still tied Cole Devries for 6th in the Midwest League in ERA. He was one less shy of the MWL lead. The Santo Domingo native pitched for the Visalia Oaks (10-3, 2.53, 16 BB in 96 IP) and the Mobile BayBears (3-5, 4.06). He led all Diamondbacks minor leaguers in wins (tied with Christian Beltre), was second in strikeouts (140, 3 behind Barry Enright) and was second in ERA (3.14, behind Bryan Augenstein). He was named the Diamondbacks Minor League Player of the Year. He tied for 6th in the California League in victories and would have led in ERA had he qualified (Tim Alderson led instead). Baseball America rated him as having the best curveball and changeup in the Arizona chain and as the club's #7 prospect.
In 2009, Valdez spent all year at AAA, going 7-6 with a 4.78 ERA, missing a month with tendonitis. That winter, he was 0-1 with a 10.50 ERA for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Back with Reno to open 2010, he was 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 23 2/3 IP. He was then called up to The Show to replace Kevin Mulvey. In his MLB debut, Cesar got the start versus the Houston Astros. He allowed a quick run on a walk to Michael Bourn and a Carlos Lee double in the 1st, but tossed shutout ball the remainder of the way. He was yanked for pinch-hitter Tony Abreu in the 6th and finished up with the win in his first game in the bigs. He made 9 appearances for the D-Backs that year, including 2 starts, and went 1-2, 7.65 in 20 innings.
After not pitching in the major leagues for over half a decade - during which time he played in the Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins and Houston Astros systems, as well as in the Mexican League and Dominican and Venezuelan winter leagues - Valdez returned as a spot starter for the Oakland Athletics on April 20, 2017. He allowed 3 runs and 5 hits in 4 innings in a 9-6 win over the Seattle Mariners. After four appearances with Oakland, he was placed on waivers and on May 5th was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. After a couple of shuttles between the AAA Buffalo Bisons and Toronto, he finally recorded his second career win - his first since his major league debut back in 2010 - on July 25th. Starting against his teammates from earlier that season the Athletics, he pitched a career high six innings, allowing only one run, to receive credit for a 4-1 win.