Remember That Volquez Guy?

Back at the beginning of the season, fans in Cincinnati did not really know what to expect after trading away best-story winner Josh Hamilton for a slender righthanded pitcher named Edinson Volquez. After a month, many were convinced that the trade was a win-win, because Hamilton’s bat caught fire and Volquez emerged as the early Cy Young Award favorite in the National League. Few had truly heard of Volquez or knew anything about his repertoire, velocity, or potential, but he dominated hitters left and right, posting some insane numbers in the process. In fact, if Cliff Lee had not had an Orel Hershiser-esque stretch, Volquez would have looked even better early on.

In his first 13 games, 12 of which were starts, Volquez amassed 75 innings, giving up just 49 hits, only 3 of which were longballs. Walks were a bit of an issue as he surrendered 38 free passes, but he showed the ability to miss bats with 91 strikeouts, a 10.92 K/9. His ERA was a measly 1.32, his average game score was 68, and hitters were posting a .188/.303/.261 slash line against.

Over his last 20 starts, his numbers have regressed, and his position atop the out-of-nowhere-story throne was lost, but his overall season is still quite good. In this 20-start span, Volquez posted the following: 121 IP, 118 H, 11 HR, 55 BB, 115 K, 4.39 ERA, 51 GSC, .257/.345/.403. Okay, so he became human again and looked a bit closer to what we would expect from an average pitcher instead of the dominant force through the beginning of June. But hey, Hamilton regressed too, so it is still a win-win.

Combined, Volquez is at 196 innings pitched, just 167 hits surrendered, 93 walks, and 206 strikeouts. His 9.46 K/9 is very attractive but the 4.27 BB/9 chips away a bit. A 2.22 K/BB is not terrible but his one glaring flaw this season lies in the walks issued. His 3.21 ERA is not deemed out of line based on his 3.59 FIP, and while his 1.33 WHIP is closer to average than dominant, his 75.5% strand rate has ensured a good portion of those runners remained put. He should get one more start to finish up the season, making it very likely for him to surpass the 200 IP mark with solid numbers to backup that amount of usage. He might not win any postseason awards and he may have regressed since the beginning of June, but Edinson Volquez still put together one heck of a season

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

4 Responses to “Remember That Volquez Guy?”

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  1. chris welsh says:

    Solid article but I was wondering about the SB’s allowed by Volquez this year and how his inability to hold down the running game might play into his overall success. He has allowed 21 SB’s with 12 CS.

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  2. NickP says:

    21/33 is a 64% success rate. That’s pretty poor, so it’s actually helped him prevent runs.

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  3. Ken says:

    Good article. I also feared a steep post-ASB dropoff because his HRs allowed was ridiculously low at that point. But he kept the ball in the park and a largely on the ground (1.4:1 g:f) throughout the year. With better defense behind him (the Reds have sieves at 3B and SS) he will have better years than this one.

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  4. Rick says:

    Consider too that the Reds defense is among the, if not the, worst in baseball. The left side of the infield is manned by a 3B whose throws to 1B are a roll of the dice and a SS who makes Derek Jeter’s range look like Omar Vizquel.

    I’ve watched Volquez about 20 times this year and I simply can’t past how much he reminds me of a small Zambrano with a killer change instead of a killer slider. Of course, he’s a bit more happy-go-lucky — doesn’t quite have Big Z’s fire.

    If he can keep missing bats, keep his GB/FB north of 1.30, and his HR/FB under 10%, he’s going to be awfully good for an awfully long time.

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