#7 - Michael Valadez
2012 Season
Gary (American Association)
Los Angeles, Calif.
Michael Valadez

Valadez, 27, enters his third season with the Boomers after having his best season offensively as a pro during the 2013 Championship run. Known for his defensive prowess, the California native earned the starting spot behind the plate for the West Division All-Stars and finished the season with a .286 average in 66 games behind the plate for the Boomers with nine doubles and 25 RBI. The seven-year professional threw out 24 out of 61 (28.2%) would-be base stealers, good for second-best in the Frontier League.

In 2012, Valadez was a mainstay behind the plate catching 75% of the games (72 out of 96) for Manager Jamie Bennett. Valadez led the Frontier League catchers in assists with 69, 25 of which came from cutting down would-be base stealers. The Boomers backstop threw out an impressive 36.2% (25 out of 69) of runners attempting to steal against him during his first season as a member of the Boomers. At the plate, Valadez bounced back from a tough year in 2011 with the Gary SouthShore RailCats to post a solid .254 batting average with 65 hits in 256 at-bats. The 6-foot-1 catcher also tallied 29 runs scored and collected 11 doubles, a homer and 28 runs batted in.

Valadez joined the independent ranks in 2010 after signing with the Tucson Toros of the Golden League and joined the RailCats after a midseason trade. Valadez got off to a slow start with the RailCats but found his rhythm during a red-hot month of August, which saw him post a sparkling .341 batting average in 16 games. Valadez was even more efficient in games at U. S. Steel Yard in 2010, batting .400 in 12 games with an outstanding .471 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage. Valadez struggled at the plate in 2011 but still appeared in 93 games, which demonstrated his value as a defender as he helped the club earn a 67-52 overall record in games that he participated.

Originally selected in the 26th Round of the 2007 Major League Entry Draft by the Cleveland Indians, Valadez was the first member of the Boomers to have been previously drafted by a Major League Baseball organization. Valadez hit .240 in 27 games for the Indians New York-Penn League affiliate in 2007, and split time between Mahoning Valley and Lake County (South Atlantic League) from 2007-09.  Valadez put up the best power numbers of his career in 2009, cracking four home runs and piling up 24 RBI in 52 games at Lake County (A).

In three seasons with the Indians organization, the highly skilled defensive catcher brought with him a right arm that cut down more than a third of the runners trying to steal against him in three affiliated seasons and he threw out 54-of-135 (40.0%) runners from 2008-09.

Valadez attended NAIA Lee (Tenn.) University where he helped the Flames to the NAIA World Series as a senior. Valadez makes his offseason home in Los Angeles, Calif.


2012 Season
44 Ty NelsonR
7 Mike ValadezR