October 17, 2021

A Suggestion for Vince Velasquez (FanGraphs)


On April 14, 2016, Vince Velasquez took the mound for his second start as a member of the Phillies, having come over in an offseason trade with the Astros that sent Ken Giles to Houston. In an afternoon matchup against the Padres, he twirled one of the best-pitched games of the last decade, striking out 16 and walking none in a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits to boot. In the last 10 years, just 11 pitchers have struck out 16 or more in a game, and in these 13 performances (Max Scherzer has done it thrice), just five were complete game shutouts. He started his Phillies career on the highest of notes.

Fast forward more than five years, and Velasquez has now signed with those very Padres on a minor league deal in name only. As San Diego desperately tries to find pitching depth to stay afloat in the NL Wild Card race, Velasquez will start on Friday night in a pivotal series against the Cardinals, though he will not be eligible for postseason play if the Padres do secure a spot in October since he signed after the start of September.

The fact that a starting-caliber arm became available in free agency in the middle of the last month of the season tells you two…

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