The Philadelphia Phillies top player of the first week of the season is announced.
Following each week of the 2016 season, we’ll be selecting and presenting our TBOH Phillies Player of the Week. The selection periods will cover from Monday games through the following weekend.
For the opening week of the season, things were not looking good for the Fightin’ Phils. The club lost the first four games in various ways, and no one was standing out for their individual play.
Then came Saturday night in New York. Making his first regular season start in a Phillies uniform, 23-year old Vincent Velasquez strode to the mound with confidence and purpose, pitching the Phils to their first victory of the season.
“I had to come out and make a statement,” Velasquez said following the brilliant performance per Philly.com’s Matt Gelb, “and try to help a team get the first win.” When asked what that statement was, Velasquez answered: “Just go out there and dominate.”
That performance has earned Velasquez the first TBOH Phillies Player of the Week honors for this 2016 season. In his start, Velasquez allowed just three hits over six innings pitched. He struck out nine Mets’ batters while walking three. Velasquez tossed 99 pitches, 63 of those going for strikes.
The Phillies obtained Velasquez as the lead piece of the big trade with the Houston Astros this past off-season, the first big trade for new general manager Matt Klentak.
In that December 12th deal, the Phils sent closer Ken ‘100-Miles’ Giles and a minor leaguer to Houston in exchange for Velasquez and four other pitchers: Mark Appel, Brett Oberholtzer, Thomas Eshelman, and Harold Arauz. Oberholtzer made the team out of spring training as a lefty reliever.
A Montclair, California native, Velasquez had been Houston’s 2nd round pick in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of Garey High School in California. He debuted with the Astros last season with 19 appearances, including seven starts.
The Phillies hope to have struck gold with Velasquez, anticipating that he will be a member of their starting pitching rotation along with fellow current young starters Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff for years to come as the team continues to build back towards contending status.