“ 2, 4, 6, 8
Who do we appreciate?"
May 7, 2046: YELLOW SPRINGS – Check it out. Carlos Valle
wears number 28. It’s an even number. When he eats, he chews each bite 32 times. Even number. When he was younger, a story buzzed about him eating a dozen eggs on game day—again, an even number. When he warms up, he throws exactly six pitches. Rumors are that last year, when Valle turned 32 years old his ids got him a T-Level for his birthday, perfect for keeping everything level.
Okay. That last might be a bit of a stretch, even for me, but you get the idea.
Carlos Valle—a three-time Nebraska winner—is already an enigma wrapped in a fastball when it comes to hitters, but when you look at him it’s clear he’s got a thing for even numbers. I mean, check out those Nebraska seasons, why don’t ya: 2040, 2042, and 2044. Spooky, am I right?
The good news for YS9 fans? The calendar reads 2046.
“I don’t really know what to say about it,” Valle said last night after he went seven innings to beat Portland 6-1. The performance raised his record in this still-young season to 6-1, and lowered his ERA to 1.94. With most of the world focusing on Alaric Wullenweber, Danya Tcheckanov and a couple other young guns, Valle has stepped himself right into the middle of another Nebraska race. “I don’t think I’m doing anything different,” he continued, “but the numbers are weird.”
Yes, they are.
Though this season is still young, the fact is that it will complete his twelfth season as a big leaguer. If you split his performance by alternating seasons, odd numbered years in one bucket, even years in another, you get a fascinating picture.
Now, let’s be honest, there are a lot of pitchers in the league that would give their firstborn child to own that “odd year” line. 90-43, 3.83 isn’t dogmeat. But 98-34, 3.06, with a sharp reduction in HR/9 and BB/9 is pretty breathtaking. His 8.32 K/9 represents a small drop from the other years, but, yeah, given the raw number of Ks in a game relative to BB and HR, “small” is the critical word there.
Can he win another Nebraska?
Well, of course he could. And if he did, you’d figure he’d be about a lock for the Hall of Fame—which is an amazing thing to say about a pitcher who is only 32—but there’s a lot of baseball left to play and with the other arms in the league, all it takes is one tough month to blow that idea to smithereens. Still, it’s fun to think about … and the numbers remain … um … weird.