I have been really busy lately between schoolwork and securing a job for the next year, so Blogservations and the BoniLine have been on something of a hiatus. Still, I think Chris Volstad’s performance from yesterday afternoon warrants some discussion, so here we go.
Let’s start as always with some charts, courtesy of Brooks Baseball.
Working predominantly with the fastball/two-seamer,
Just looking at this plot compared to the wilder ones we’ve seen other Volstad starts makes me happy. The biggest thing was his ability to keep the ball down. He worked away from the left-handers and spread out on the lower half of the plate against righties. What I really liked was what he did against the righties down and in.
Working predominantly with the fastball/two-seamer, Volstad was able to get inside and jam hitters with on the inner half. He was a bit lucky to get the pitches over the plate hit for outs, but stayed mostly where you wanted him to be. I was surprised to see how little he went upstairs, which is a good thing given his low-90′s velocity.
The best part perhaps in all of this was that he was throwing strikes. He got nine swinging strikes and overall had a strike% of 70.5%, which for a guy who isn’t going to survive on missing tons of bats is a priority. By staying ahead of the count, Chris got to throw what he wanted and induced some weak grounders, to the tune of 14 ground balls out of 28 balls in play. Most importantly, keeping the ball low in the zone kept him from his worst problem, the home run. I’m almost certain playing in AT&T Park and against the lowly Giants offense helped, but if this trend for Volstad can continue, he can be an effective third starter for the team. The Marlins are going to have to ride their rotation to the finish line, and they’ll need all the production from Volstad, Andrew Miller, and Sean West/Anibal Sanchez they can get. Yesterday’s start was a good sign.