Vincent John Velasquez (pronounced veh-LAS-kehz; born June 7, 1992) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. Velasquez made his MLB debut with the Astros in 2015, and was traded to the Phillies before the 2016 season.
Velasquez with the Phillies in 2016
|Philadelphia Phillies – No. 21|
|Born: June 7, 1992|
|June 10, 2015, for the Houston Astros|
|MLB statistics |
(through July 5, 2019)
|Earned run average||4.60|
Velasquez attended Garey High School in Pomona, California, where he played shortstop as a switch-hitter and pitched on the baseball team, graduating in 2010. He was a three-time All-Mt. Baldy League First-Team infielder, and in his junior season he was 6-1 as a pitcher with a 1.89 earned run average (ERA), and batted .608 with 14 doubles, 29 runs batted in (RBIs), and 18 stolen bases.
Velasquez was drafted by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft out of Garey High School, and signed for a $655,800 signing bonus. He made his professional debut for the Rookie League Greeneville Astros. In eight games (six starts) he went 2–2 with a 3.07 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 29 1⁄3 innings pitched. Following the 2010 season, Baseball America ranked him the 11th-best prospect in the Appalachian League.
Prior to the 2011 season, he underwent Tommy John surgery; Velasquez did not play at all that season. He returned in 2012 to pitch nine games for the Class A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats. In 45 2⁄3 innings, he was 4–1 with a 3.35 ERA, and 51 strikeouts in 45.2 innings, averaging 12.1 strikeouts per 9 innings. Following the 2012 season, Baseball America named him the 14th-best prospect in the New York-Penn League.
Velasquez started the 2013 season for the Class A Quad Cities River Bandits. He led the Midwest League in strikeouts/9 innings pitched (10.06), tied for 2nd in strikeouts (123), and tied for 8th in wins, as he was 9–4 with a 3.19 ERA in 110 innings. During the season, he was promoted to the Class A-Advanced Lancaster JetHawks. He finished with a combined record of 9–6 with a 3.54 ERA, and 142 strikeouts over 124 2⁄3 innings, averaging 10.3 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Prior to the 2014 season, he was ranked by Fangraphs as the 67th-best prospect, and by ESPN as the 82nd-best prospect, in baseball, and was ranked as a top prospect in the Astros system by Baseball America (#6), Baseball Prospectus (#6), and ESPN (#7). Velasquez returned to Lancaster to start the season, and also pitched for the Gulf Coast League Astros. He was named California League Pitcher of the Week on both April 14, 2014, and August 18, 2014. Between the two teams, he was 7–5 with a 3.52 ERA, as he had 91 strikeouts in 64 innings, averaging 12.8 strikeouts per 9 innings. On November 20, the Astros added Velasquez to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Velasquez began the 2015 season ranked by Baseball America as the fourth-best Houston prospect, by Baseball Prospectus as the # 75 minor leaguer, and by major league baseball as the # 86 minor leaguer. He pitched for the Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks, and was named a 2015 Texas League All Star. For the season in the minors, he was 4–0 with a 1.91 ERA, and had 45 strikeouts in 33 innings, averaging 12.3 strikeouts per 9 innings.
On June 10, 2015, Velasquez was promoted to the Major Leagues for the first time. On July 1, he made his Major League debut. He earned a no decision going 6 1/3 innings, giving up 5 hits, four runs, and a walk, and inducing seven strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. For the 2015 season, with the Astros he was 1–1 with a 4.37 ERA, with 58 strikeouts in 55.2 innings, and averaged 9.4 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Velasquez registered 16 strikeouts (the 3rd-most in Phillies history) in a complete game shutout against the San Diego Padres on April 14, 2016, giving up only three hits and no walks in the process. Through his first 9 starts, Velasquez sported an ERA of 2.75, but afterward he struggled the rest of the season while also missing a couple of weeks due to right biceps strain. Overall, he finished 8–6 with an ERA of 4.12 in 24 starts, with 152 strikeouts in 131 innings. His average of 10.44 strikeouts/9 innings pitched made him the second Phillies starter ever to make at least 20 starts and finish the season at or above 10 strikeouts/9 innings pitched, with the other being Curt Schilling in 1997–98, and he was 6th in the NL in strikeout ratio of all pitchers with 120 innings pitched.
His 2017 season was also cut short due to a right middle finger injury, with Velasquez making only 15 starts with a record of 2–7 and a 5.13 ERA, and 68 strikeouts in 72 innings. He battled inconsistency, walking 4.3 batters per nine innings. At the plate, he batted .250.
Velasquez began the 2018 season with a 5–8 record before being placed on the disabled list on July 2 with a right forearm contusion after being hit by a line drive. For the 2018 season, he was 9–12 with a 4.85 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 146.2 innings, and was 7th in the National League in wild pitches, with 9. His 9.9 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched were 8th in the NL of all pitchers with 140 or more innings pitched, and the 6th-highest rate of any Phillies pitcher in franchise history. He held right-handed batters to a .211/.298/.308 slash line, and was the only pitcher in major league baseball to face at least 300 right-handed batters and allow only three home runs or fewer. In January 2019 he agreed to a one-year, $2.249 million contract with the Phillies. On May 11, 2019, he was placed on the disabled list.
- Baseball Player Name Pronunciation Guide | Baseball-Reference.com
- Vince Velasquez Stats, Fantasy & News | MLB.com
- Vincent Velasquez Class of 2010 - Player Profile | Perfect Game USA
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- Short, D. J. "Ken Giles trade announced, with 2013 No. 1 pick Mark Appel headed to the Phillies". HardballTalk. NBC Sports. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
- Kruth, Cash (April 14, 2016). "Velasquez's performance one for history books: Right-hander punched out 16 batters in a start for the ages". mlb.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
- Zolecki, Todd; Cassavell, AJ (April 14, 2016). "Velasquez records 16 K's in 3-hit shutout". mlb.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
- "National League Leaderboards » 2016 » Pitchers » Advanced Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- "Phillies' Vince Velasquez placed on 10-day DL; Pat Neshek activated". espn.com. July 1, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
- "National League Leaderboards » 2018 » Pitchers » Advanced Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Fangraphs.com. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
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- "Phillies' Vince Velasquez: Avoids arbitration". CBS Sports. January 11, 2019. Retrieved March 8, 2019.