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Evaluating Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher, Vincent Velasquez

Vincent Velasquez (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Vincent Velasquez (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)


Vincent Velasquez has played well for the Philadelphia Phillies this year. Sure, he has had a couple of bad outings, but his 3.52 and 8-2 record show that he has the ability to be a player that can compete in this league. Although it is still early, it seems as though the Phillies got a good return in their trade with the Houston Astros.

When you look take a look at Vincent Velasquez’s make-up, it is easy to understand why he was so intriguing to the Phillies in the first place. Velasquez has a big time arsenal of pitches that all have been above average at times. His fastball hits 97 mph, curveball can keep hitters off balance, and his change-up has shown life to be a truly imposing off-speed pitch.

Early on, it seemed that Velasquez was on his way to being dominant pitcher for this Phillies team. I’m sure most MLB fans can recall his shutout performance against the Padres where he struck out 16. With an outing like that it forces one to ask the question, why has his Velasquez’s performance taken a step back?

Throughout his career, Vincent has had knocks on what his stuff is and what he would become in the league. His control was in question and he was always seen as an injury risk. Now, being at the midpoint of the season, the Phillies have seen both of those knocks on Velasquez first hand.

A couple of times this season Velasquez has given the Phillies scares about his arm. He was taken out of one game early on and had another start where his fastball was barely maintaining 92 mph. These are obvious red flags for a guy that is a high injury risk. Thankfully, they both proved to be minor mishaps that Velasquez was capable of working through.

The other concern involving his command still seems to be holding him back a bit. When watching Velasquez pitch, you will notice his tendency to fall behind hitters. This leads to him throwing a lot more pitches, which forces him to leave games earlier than the coaching staff would like.

Only once in Velasquez’s eight wins has he thrown more than six innings. If you look at his losses and no decisions, you will see that he doesn’t even get passed the fifth inning in most of those. Six quality innings is not at all a bad thing, but a team would hope that, occasionally, their pitcher would push through an eight-inning start every now and again. It seems that Velasquez has been unable to do so.

Regardless of what the stats may indicate, Velasquez is one of the most fun pitchers to watch on this Phillies team and his upside alone warrants that the team gives him as many shots on the mound as they can. If Velasquez can improve his control and remain healthy, this guy still has the potential to be a workhorse at the top of this rotation.

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