KANSAS CITY Kan. — One of the most exciting young pitchers in the American Association is coming back to the Kansas City Monarchs. Alex Valdez has re-signed with Kansas City for the 2023 season, the club announced Wednesday.

Valdez, a 23-year-old right-hander, joined the Monarchs late in the 2022 pennant race and immediately carved out a high-leverage role in the team’s already deep bullpen. He posted a minuscule 1.08 ERA over seven regular-season appearances.

“Alex is a young guy with a really good arm,” Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra said. “His slider is a really good pitch, and he shows impressive competitiveness. He was throwing strikes in big moments last season, and we’re looking forward to seeing him grow this year.”

The native of the Dominican Republic was part of one of the most thrilling moments of the Monarchs’ 2022 season, getting the final out of Kansas City’s season-ending victory over Fargo-Moorhead to clinch the club’s third straight division title.

Valdez carried that momentum into the 2022 postseason, making four appearances, three of them scoreless.

Valdez came to KC from the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, where he suited up for High-A Visalia in 2021 and 2022. He has 96 career appearances in affiliated baseball, striking out 9.1 batters per nine innings.

The Monarchs open the upcoming season on Friday, May 12, on the road against the Sioux City Explorers. Their 2023 home opener is set for Friday, May 19 against the Sioux Falls Canaries. Fans can buy tickets, check out upcoming promotions and learn more about the team at MonarchsBaseball.com.

Follow the Monarchs on Twitter @KSCityMonarchs, on Instagram @KC_Monarchs, and at Facebook.com/KCMonarchsBaseball.

By: Carter Woodiel