Introducing Waldis Joaquin

Another hard-throwing reliever debuted last night this one going by the name of Waldis Joaquin and pitching for the San Francisco Giants. The 22-year-old pitched an inning against Houston last night, giving up a run on two hits and striking a batter out. So what makes him so special? The 11 fastballs he threw averaged out to 97.7 MPH and his top-end velocity registered at a ridiculous 98.5 MPH.

When I see numbers that extreme I check the other pitchers involved to see if the machine was simply experiencing velocity inflation.

Felipe Paulino sat at 95; Jonathan Sanchez at 92; Wesley Wright at 90; Justin Miller at 90; and Tim Byrdak at 89. Baseball Info Solutions has those players averaging 95, 91.5, 91, 88, and 89. So the pitchx numbers appear to be accurate and I guess Miller had his good fastball for once.

Not only can Joaquin bring the heat, but Baseball America also named his slider as the best in the Giants system. Throughout the minors Joaquin has showed an affinity for generating groundball outs alongside some impressive strikeout rates. In his 2005 stint at rookie ball Joaquin fanned 37 in 29 innings, after missing 2006 Joaquin struck out 30 in 38 short season innings and spent 2008 in A-ball where he struck out 72 in 71 innings. A move to Double-A deflated his punch outs and to date he only has 40 in 54 innings.

Like with most youthful flamethrowers, Joaquin showed some command issues during his time in Double-A, which raises the question: was he able to make up for those issues by simply overpowering less talented and more aggressive youth? During this writing Joaquin was actually demoted to Triple-A so it should be telling whether his strikeout rates perk up or remain flatter than usual.

Joaquin clearly has the stuff to pitch at the major league level; it’s just a matter of when and how well.




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9 Responses to “Introducing Waldis Joaquin”

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  1. tom says:

    His fastball had some serious downward sink on it. He should be back up in september for sure, when the rosters expand.

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  2. perfectgame says:

    Only problem with this article is that he is not 22 yrs old. Try more like 26..

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  3. ChiPower says:

    Yep, born Dec. 25, 1986, so unless someone is lying about his age (never happens with the Caribean players, right?), the kid is 22. Hopefully he gets his command issues under control this month…if so, I certainly expect to see him in September when rosters expand.

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  4. fletchdm says:

    I watched his inning against the Astros and was extremely impressed. He gets more sink on a 97+ mph fastball than just about any pitcher I have ever witnessed. That said, Waldis Joaquin remains an enigma to me: his stuff is so good, I can’t fathom how he has only struck out 40 in 54 IP in the Eastern League this year.

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    • B says:

      I saw him pitch in Connecticut one day, and he was not throwing upper 90’s. He was low to mid 90’s and topped out at about 96 or so (all based on stadium gun). Dunno if that has anything to do with his K rates, as a Giants fan I’m hoping I saw a fluky game and he’s normally throwing harder, rather than the Houston game being a fluke…

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    • Eric says:

      Sounds like the same confusion Jays fans have been suffering through with Brandon League all these years.

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  5. nbgiant25 says:

    I was at the SF-Houston series, and while I agree with the velocity marks for Joaquin, the Jonathan Sanchez number is misleading… He was hitting 93-96mph for the majority of the game with his FB, and the gun operator misread quite a few pitches as FB (86-89mph range) that were actually sliders with not much break…

    I’m not sure if the readings for the other pitchers are averages or top velocity, but in either case, the Jonathan Sanchez numbers are not quite correct.

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