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