Edinson Volquez: Where Does He Rank Amongst SP in 2016?


There are certain moments in sports that transcend who wins or loses and rather strikes an emotional chord with everyone who is a fan of baseball. Edinson Volquez got served the harsh reality of life in general that even when you feel at the top of the world, there is always tragedy lurking in the shadows.

As we have all heard, Volquez lost his father right before one of his World Series starts and was not told until after he was finished with his start of his fathers death. The question then became would Volquez be able to muster the strength to pitch in his next start, which happened to be the one to clinch the Royals the championship.

The ninth inning rally last night will get a lot a publicity, and be the most remembered part of that game. But, I think it would be a disservice to ignore the performance by Volquez, to not only pitch days after burying his father but also the ability to battle and keep that game at only a two run deficit.

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Volquez has been quite the story the last two season as in 2013 he looked like a guy that was in danger of falling out of the league after posting an ERA of 5.71 between the Padres and Dodgers. Like in the cases of Francisco Liriano, and A.J. Burnett, Volquez found himself on the Pirates in 2014 as a reclamation project. Pirates pitching coach, Ray Searage, worked his magic once again and got Volquez pitching at the level that his raw talent spoke to.

He would go on to post a, 13 W/3.04 ERA/140 K/1.23 WHIP in 2014, but really did not get a lot of traction in the free agent market in 2015. But, the Royals pulled off another one of their under the radar moves and snagged Volquez which proved to be a championship winning move.

Volquez not only produced another quality season, but actually improved on his 2014 line against arguably tougher competition in the AL. His 2015 success would amount to a, 13 W/3.55 ERA/155 K/1.30 WHIP.

Heading into 2016, Volquez seems to have found a permanent home in Kansas City that should keep him there past the final year of his deal next season. For a guy that has bounced around a ton in his career, part of his success should be engrained in the fact that he can relax and not worry about finding where he is going to continue his career.

Another positive sign for his value going forward is that Volquez has made incremental improvement across most of his peripheral stats. Just in 2015 alone he raised his K rate by .5 per game, lowered his FIP by nearly a run, and saw his walks begin to level out at a manageable clip.

He also remained consistent all season as well. Over both halves of the season his ERA was no higher than 3.80 and his K numbers actually got better as the season went along. His ERA over each month never rose over 3.80 during any month until September, so his consistency was certainly a pillar of most rotations throughout the year.

The Pirates reworked his delivery to make it much more compact and that has really been the turnaround in his career. This was a guy that walked over 100 people in 2013, so to see his walks decline to just over 70 each of the last two seasons is a staple of his value in 2016.

The only thing that separates Volquez from fantasy ace status is that is K rates hover around 6.5-7, so his 150 K could be closer to his ceiling going forward. I have Volquez ranked as a SP2 or 3, with pitching being so deep Volquez is one of the guys to target later in the mid rounds as a pitcher that you insert and ignore.

It is time for fantasy owners to wipe away the rocky memories that Volquez has had since his Rookie of the Year award in 2008. He has turned the corner and now resembles the quality pitcher that he has always had in him. Draft him with confidence.

Next: Miguel Sano: Top 5 DH?