Saturday, January 10, 2009
Edinson Volquez 2009
Edinson Volquez had an outstanding season in 2008. He struck out 9.5 per nine innings, walked 4.3, and had a 46.3% groundball rate. If he can improve on any of those numbers in 2009, then he'll be one of the elite starting pitchers. Even if he can't, he'll be very good, although he is hurt quite a lot by his home park. Volquez is a great illustration of why you should pay more attention to how a young pitcher is doing now, rather than putting too much stock in past performance. In 2005 and 2006 he was so bad that he was a worthy target for match-ups in daily transaction leagues (combined 26 strikeouts and 27 walked in 46 innings). However, he showed substantial improvement in 2007, before a true breakout in 2008. Strikeout rates in particular are a sensitive enough indicator that even a sample as small as 20 or 30 innings can give you a good idea of a change in skill for an inexperienced player.