Five Phillies players in a make-or-break season this year

jtown
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 25: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Spectrum Field on March 25, 2018 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 25: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits a two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Spectrum Field on March 25, 2018 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 6
Next
Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 30: Starting pitcher Vince Velasquez #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the third inning during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park on July 30, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 2-1. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /

Vince Velasquez

This April will mark two years since Vince Velasquez’s incredible Citizens Bank Park debut when he struck out 16 Padres in a complete-game shutout. He already had the makings a future top-of-the-rotation starter after being acquired from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade. Fans could dream of a rotation spearheaded by Velasquez and Aaron Nola.

After that start, Velasquez has failed to replicate any sort of similar success. His major-league career since then has been plagued by injury and inconsistency. His walk rate jumped 3.1 per nine innings in 2016 to 4.3 in 2017. His strikeout rate fell, leading to a meager 2.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio last year.

Velasquez managed just 15 starts last year after dealing with two separate injuries. He missed a month and a half due to a flexor strain in his right elbow during the middle of the season. His last start came in August before he was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a vascular issue in his middle finger. He had surgery in September to fix the issue.

Velasquez looked strong this spring in 14.1 innings of action. He struck out 15 batters, walked just four, and had a 2.51 ERA.

This year may be the last Velasquez has to prove he can be a major-league starter. If he can’t find consistency in the rotation, there’s a strong chance he will get moved to the bullpen after the year. He has so much potential, but that potential can only take him so far.

facebooktwitterreddit