If you fell asleep during spring training and woke up today, you might be surprised to find that a Dominican pitcher on the Cincinnati Reds is the best pitcher in baseball. If the rest of your league has been asleep at the wheel (and text messaging at the same time), maybe you can pick him up, because there’s a good chance he wasn’t selected in your initial fantasy baseball draft.
That pitcher is Edinson Volquez–a starting pitcher with 98 MPH stuff who had a lifetime record of 1-10 and 9.20 ERA at one point in his career! That earned Volquez a trip back to single A Bakersfield.
Volquez, who will turn 25 in July, came to the Reds in the trade that sent troubled Josh Hamilton to the Rangers and Hamilton’s not having too bad of a year either.
The 6′ 1″ flame thrower gave up no more than one earned run per game for the Reds in his first seven starts. He’s 7-2, 1.46, with an astonishing 83 strikeouts in 68 innings of work thus far.
So what’s the difference this season for Volquez? His problems in the past have been command problems and losing his cool while on the mound. Major league braintrust have also said that Volquez had been tipping off his pitches in the past. Not any more.
But, can he keep it up? Probably not. His WHIP, while solid at 1.28, is not amazing for a guy with his stats so far. Volquez has been able to bear down and get outs when he needs them as evidenced by a baserunners’ stranded rate near 90%–about 20% above the major league average. Eventually, that’s going to catch up with him. Plus, the Reds are not exactly the Rays (I mean the Red Sox) and are, at best, an average ball club so the wins might be harder to come by as the season progresses. Clearly, his value is at its peak right now if you have a willing trader he covets young pitching talent.
Nevertheless, Volquez is young and has great stuff. He’s going to be a solid performer for years to come. And, he’s made a best friend in fellow Dominican pitcher Johnny Cueto–another hurler who has struggled with emotions on the mound. The two like to play Playstation together, but Volquez says that he’s not very good and always loses to Cueto.
Even when he plays with the Red Sox.