Monday, January 23, 2017

2016 Player Review: Vincent Velasquez

Editor's Note: This is the 21st in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Colton Murray was the last player profiled.

The early returns on the Ken Giles trade have been mostly fantastic. Giles, who was fantastic in Philadelphia, struggled a bit in Houston. He posted a  2-5 record with a 4.11 ERA and just 15 saves in 65 innings. That said, his peripherals looked good. He posted 14 Ks per nine. His FIP was 2.86. He'll be fine. Houston will enjoy having him.

On the Phillies' side, Brett Oberholtzer pitched his way off the team. I was somewhat surprised by that. While I didn't expect him to be an All-Star, I expected more than a 4.83 ERA. Harold Arauz looked good for Lakewood. The 21-year-old appeared in 19 starts, pitching to a 3.55 ERA, 1.040 WHIP and allowing just four home runs and 24 walks in 99 innings. Thomas Eshelman got hit hard in Reading after some success at Clearwater. He is still just 22. Mark Appel suffered an injury in Triple-A. Appel (10) and  Eshelman (18) enter the season ranked among the Phillies' top prospects, according to MLB.com.

But the guy who shined the most was Vincent Velasquez. The 24-year-old tossed 131 often electric frames, pitching to a 4.12 ERA, a 3.81 FIP, a 1.328 WHIP. He allowed 21 home runs and 45 walks, but he struck out 152 batters. 

Velasquez exploded on the scene with a 16-K, three-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Though he had to spend some time on the disabled list in June, he looked grat through July 19, holding down a 3.19 ERA and an 8-2 mark. At that point, he had pitched 85 innings. The wall was coming. In 2015, he had pitched 88 innings. In 2014, he had pitched even fewer frames than that.

From July 19 on, Velasquez had a 5.96 ERA, giving up 11 homers and 30 walks in 45.1 innings.

Velasquez was the subject of trade speculation at the deadline and this offseason, but it's hard to imagine the team trading a guy with his capabilities when they won 71 games last year and added some intriguing pieces this offseason.

2016 grade: B+
Will we see him in 2017: Barring anything catastrophic, he'll be in the rotation.