Since Anthony Capra was injured in late June; the Wichita Wingnuts have been without a regular left-handed pitcher in their starting rotation. That will change in the near future as the team has signed left-hander Frank Del Valle, a former Chicago Cubs’ prospect.
The 24-year old defected from Cuba four years ago at the age of 20 and has been residing in Miami ever since. Prior to beginning a baseball career in the states, he played in the Cuban National Series with both Industriales de La Habana and Metropolitanos de La Habana as a 17 and 18 year-old respectively. Del Valle was signed as a free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2011 and sent to the Arizona Rookie League where he made three starts. His next stop was the Cubs’ Single-A affiliate in Peoria, where he made nine appearances, before finishing his initial season in Advanced-A Daytona.
Del Valle spent each of the past two seasons with the Daytona Cubs where he combined to go 8-8. In 2012, he made 22 appearances, 15 of them starts, and posted a 3.26 ERA. In a career-high 99.1 innings of work he struck out 84 and walked just 30 opposing hitters. As solely a reliever in 2013, the southpaw pitched in 31 games. He spent most of his time in the back-end of the bullpen earning nine saves and finishing 24 games. In 51 innings Del Valle gave up just 13 earned runs for an ERA of 2.29 and allowed one home run. He finished with over a strikeout per inning and averaged 11.3 per nine innings pitched.
He started the 2014 season in big league camp with the Cubs, but was released at the conclusion, making the Wingnuts the first team he suits up for this year.
Fellow left-handed pitcher Jared Gaynor was placed on the disabled list, which opened up the roster spot for Del Valle. Gaynor last pitched on July 7th.
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