Edinson Volquez is scheduled to make his spring debut for the Texas Rangers this afternoon. It will be his first game action since 2017.
The Texas Rangers have watched Ariel Jurado, Yohander Mendez, Mike Minor and Adrian Simpson take the mound to start the first four spring training games. Only one of those pitchers is expected to crack the opening day rotation. The other projected starters have yet to take the mound. That will change this afternoon.
35-year-old Edinson Volquez is scheduled to start against the Chicago Cubs at 2:05 CST. Once he throws his first pitch, he’ll experience his first bit of major league action since 2017. As you probably know by now, Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2017. The recovery forced him to miss all of last season.
He put forth a modest season with the Miami Marlins in ’17, finishing with a 4.19 ERA over 92.1 innings pitched. He averaged 7.9 K/9 and posted a 1.419 WHIP. Control has never been Volquez’s strong suit; however, he’s always seemed to use his lack of control to his advantage. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “effectively wild”.
There was a game two years ago in which Volquez walked eight batters and struck out 10 batters over 4.1 innings pitched. His Marlins lost that game. Though, a month later, Volquez no hit the Arizona Diamondbacks. He walked only two and fanned 10 in his route to a historic afternoon.
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It’s been a while since he’s pitched, but expect extremes from the right-hander this season. Just as in those two examples, he can dominate one start and struggle to find the plate in the next one.
Inconsistency is not typically a desired quality for a starting pitcher, but Volquez has been around the block a few times. He knows how to use his weapons to get hitters out. As the team’s fifth starter, the Rangers will accept some inconsistency if it results in at least a .500 record over Volquez’s starts.
He loves to throw his sinker. That’s the pitch he relied on over 50% of the time in 2017. His sinker has all but replaced his four-seamer, at least that’s what the last few seasons indicate. Volquez also throws a changeup and a curveball.
It will be interesting to see how he uses his pitches post-Tommy John surgery. Also, his new team and new coaching staff will certainly have some influence. His sinker averaged 94.1 mph in ’17. Hopefully he can continue with that velocity in the upcoming campaign.
Much of our apprehension will be calmed tomorrow afternoon. We’ll get a feel for what Edinson Volquez has to offer. Drew Smyly and Shelby Miller are supposed to make their Texas Rangers’ debuts this week as well.