Blue Jays Game 1 Scouting Report: Edinson Volquez
The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals both had their backs against the wall in their ALDS series. The Blue Jays lost the two opening games at home to the Texas Rangers and elimination looked imminent going into Arlington, but the Blue Jays would join the 2001 New York Yankees and the 2012 World Series San Fransisco Giants to become the only teams to come back and win the ALDS after doing down 0-2 at home. In game four against the Astros, down 2-1 in their series losing the game 6-2 in the seventh, the Royals would score seven runs in the final two innings to win the game 9-6 to force a game five. The Royals won that deciding game, as well, 7-2 back at home in Kauffman Stadium.
Game one of the ALCS will have Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada facing up against Edinson Volquez. Both pitchers have enjoyed very good years on the mound, but have had different results in their one postseason start.
*Estrada & Volquez 2015 Post Season Starts
Volquez, in his first year with the Reds in 2008, would become a huge surprise, pitching 196IP and posting a 3.21ERA. Volquez would struggle finding his place in the rotation the next few years, but fast forward to 2014 and he would have one of his best seasons pitching during a contract year. In 2014, Volquez would pitch 192.2IP at an ERA of 3.04, a career best year for him. Volquez would sign with the Royals in the offseason on a 2yr/$20mil with a 2017 Mutual Option of $10mil (His contract also gives him a hotel suite on the road as the CBA still has 2 players sharing a room on the road). Volquez would prove his worth to the Royals again in 2015, having another good year on the mound.
*Volquez’s 2015 Numbers. Bold Numbers = Career Highs
There were major concerns if Volquez could bounce back in 2015 after a breakout year in 2014, and the fact he had never pitched over 200IP in a single season worried some teams during free agency.
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Volquez still shows inconsistency with his pitches year in and year out. He uses a Sinker, Knuckle-Curve, Changeup, and the occasional Four Seam Fastball. During his breakout 2014, Volquez would have the best Four Seamer of his career, one of his worst Sinkers (his main pitch at wSI -8.9) and all plus values on his off speed pitches. In 2015, his wFA would go from 9.5 – to -4.3, his Sinker would improve but still not to the point of being a plus pitch. The only improvement was that his wCH would jump to +10.1. Although Volquez is putting up good numbers with some subpar pitch values, it seems he has a ton of inconsistency in his pitches year in and year out.
One of the main concerns with Volquez moving forward is his poor track record in the postseason. In three starts Volquez has not looked like himself and has yet to earn a quality start.
*Volquez’s 3 Post Season Starts
Volquez will definitely benefit from the amazing Royals defence, which has the ability to make any average pitcher look pretty good. Volquez pitched two games against the Blue Jays this season (0-1 11.1IP 3ER 6BB 6SO) but the odds now stack up in the Jays’ favour. Volquez is having shaky starts in the postseason just as he did throughout September. The Jays bats are heating up at the end of the ALDS, and he’ll be forced to match up against the ever-steady Marco Estrada. I think the Blue Jays have the edge on the mound entering Game One of the ALCS!
Next: Podcast: Celebrating ALDS and The Bat Flip