Posts for vince velasquez

Vince Velasquez, Left Fielder, Throws Out Runner at Home

Bob Wankel - August 3, 2019

The Phillies and White Sox are still playing baseball in the 15th inning as I write this. I’ve changed my game story no less than 10 times over the past two hours. I have no idea what will happen, or if this game will ever end.

Anyway, they say any time you go down to the yard that you have the chance to see something that you’ve never seen before – or something like that. Well, I’ve definitely never seen this:

That’s starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, in left field, throwing out a potential go-ahead run at the plate.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, Velasquez had another opportunity an inning later, but Chicago’s Leury Garcia just barely beat the throw home to score the eventual winning run.

 

Notes: Kapler With Some Insight on Velasquez, Bruce Optimistic, Haseley Will Get a Shot

Bob Wankel - July 17, 2019

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I was going to pass on the news and notes stuff tonight, but I’m sitting in the press box during the midst of what is now pushing a 90 minute rain delay (and counting), so let’s do some notes, baby! Hell yeah!

We will lead things off with Vince Velasquez, who allowed four homers and failed to finish five complete innings against the Dodgers last night. He showed plus stuff early on and finished the night with seven strikeouts, but he just couldn’t keep the ball in the yard.

Fun fact: Phillies pitchers entered play Wednesday having allowed 20 more homers than any other National League team. In fact, both their starting pitchers and relief pitchers lead the NL in homers allowed. 

Anyway, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler says Velasquez will make his next scheduled start against the Pirates this weekend “as of right now.” Translation: Velasquez will start on Sunday.

Kapler also addressed what he saw from Velasquez, who has only completed six full innings once in his 11 starts this season.

“I think it was very, very clear, every fastball that he threw at the top of the zone, no damage. Every time he missed down in the zone, damage,” he said. “That’s the takeaway. It’s really simple. I talked to him about it today.”

Here’s what Gabe means when he says “down in the zone.”

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A Deeper Look at Vince Velasquez’s Solid Start

Bob Wankel - April 25, 2019

Vince Velasquez turned in five shutout innings to help his team avoid a three-game sweep by the Mets at Citi Field last night. It was an important game for the Phillies, who desperately needed to stop the bleeding in the final game of what was a forgettable 2-5 road trip. It was also an encouraging game in that Velasquez once again gave the team a chance to win for the fourth time in as many starts. His early success has helped bring some stability to what has otherwise been an underwhelming starting rotation through the season’s first month. Consider these numbers:

StatisticCurrent PerformanceNL Rank
ERA4.6011th
FIP5.0013th
WHIP1.4412th
WAR0.713th

As you can imagine, if you take away the 22.2 innings pitched to a 1.99 ERA by Velasquez, things get ugly. Very ugly. So good job by him to this point. Of course, whenever a player exceeds the averages of his career performance, particularly this early in the season, the question becomes whether or not such an outlier performance is sustainable. Has Velasquez finally turned the corner, or will this improved performance simply become another maddening example of what could have been? Keep in mind, this isn’t the first time he has been able to piece together a string of strong starts. Even in what was a decidedly underwhelming 2018 season, Velasquez put together a stretch from June 14 through August 3 in which he pitched to a 2.14 ERA with a 0.93 WHIP over 46.1 IP, holding opposing batters to a .155 average and .512 OPS. Then the bottom fell out. Beginning with his next start, Velasquez allowed an 8.45 ERA with a 1.85 WHIP while opponents hit .333 with a .959 OPS over his final 33 IP. It was a simply brutal stretch, one that seemed to wash away any of the positive momentum he had built last season.

So, what does this all mean for the present? I guess this doesn’t come as a shock, but it’s still way too early to say with any certainty whether or not this version of Velasquez is for real, but there are some discernible differences in his game. For one, he’s throwing harder. According to StatCast, there has been a jump in velocity in all of his offerings, which you can see after the jump.

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What Did We Learn From Vince Velasquez’s First Start?

Bob Wankel - April 9, 2019

The big story from last night is that Rhys Hoskins hit two more clutch homers, leading the Phillies to a 4-3 win over the Nationals.

That makes it back-to-back one-run wins in low scoring contests for the Phils, and while I’m sure everyone would love to see the bats crank at the pace they did over the season’s first six games, it’s encouraging to learn this team can also win on nights when the offense isn’t firing on all cylinders. Oh, and don’t forget about Bryce Harper’s socks. Also important. Also fire:

Of course, the Phillies were able to overcome a sluggish offensive effort in the early innings because starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, making his first start of the season, kept the game close. Velasquez intrigues me. Honestly, I’m a bit surprised we’re doing this experiment again. After a bumpy close to the 2018 season in which he posted a disastrous 5.68 ERA and 1.529 WHIP, I figured the organization would go a different direction and try to bring some stability to the back end of the team’s rotation. Instead, Phillies’ decision-makers elected to gamble on a fourth season of Velasquez’s live arm that has never consistently met the great expectations it warrants, while using options like Enyel De Los Santos and Jerad Eickhoff as insurance policies. Last night, we got our first extended look of the season at him, and, like usual, the results were a bit mixed, with many shades of gray.

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What Can We Learn From The Ken Giles Trade?

Tim Reilly - July 19, 2018

Last week, as Vince Velasquez took the mound for the Phillies in their series finale against the Mets, Ken Giles was packing his bags for Fresno. Giles, the erstwhile Phillies closer who was shipped to Houston prior to the 2016 season for a package of pitchers that included Velasquez, had been demoted to the minor leagues by the Astros organization.

Astros brass had cited Giles’ lackluster performance as the reason for the roster move, but the fiery reliever’s temper may have been his most unforgivable sin. In his last outing before the demotion, Giles had entered a 4-0 game and promptly conceded three consecutive hits. With a run across and the lead evaporating, Houston manager A.J. Hinch walked to the mound to remove Giles. Giles was less than thrilled with his skipper’s decision:

While Giles was doing his best to burn his bridges in Houston, Velasquez was lighting up the Mets. The Phillies righthander returned from a short stint on the disabled list to toss six shutout innings of two-hit baseball. He left the game after throwing just 85 pitches.

From today’s vantage point, it certainly seems that the Phillies have emerged as the clear winner of the Ken Giles trade. Yet, I am reminded of something that I told the students in my history class back in my teaching days: hindsight is a powerful tool. The light it provides can blind just as easily as it can illuminate.

Besides, I am more interested in the lessons we can learn from the transaction while the Phillies approach the trade deadline as potential buyers for the first time in five seasons. Although Philadelphia lost the Manny Machado sweepstakes, Matt Klentak and company have signaled their willingness to pursue high-impact rental players for a potential postseason push.

The front office has the support of an aggressive owner looking to make a splash. Moreover, the organization can exploit the financial flexibility afforded to it courtesy of a lucrative television rights deal with Comcast. The Phillies have methodically rebuilt their once-barren farm system, which is now ranked the fifth best in the league. Most importantly, the team sits in first place in the National League East as the unofficial second half of the season is set to begin.

The Phillies have played solid baseball, but the roster has holes that, at this point in the season, only an astute general manager can fix. Thanks to an overachieving club and a deep prospect pool, Klentak has the motive and the means, but should he seize the opportunity? Although an analysis of one trade will not provide all the answers, it can produce some insights.

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