Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

Vince Velasquez has lots of talent, but his immaturity in dealing with umpires is only hurting him.

Vince Velasquez was at the forefront of players acquired from Houston in the Ken Giles deal over a year ago. After a successful first full season in the majors, Velasquez looks to get better, but keeps standing in his own way.

http://www.scout.com/player/216002-vince-velasquez/analysis?year=2017&s=309

When they acquired Vince Velasquez, the Phillies hoped - and thought - that they were acquiring a guy who could rise to be the ace of a major league rotation. Yes, there were health concerns about his arm, which prompted an innings limit last season. It's likely they'll continue to at least monitor, if not limit, his innings again in 2017. The bigger concern is that Velasquez continues to make trouble for himself.

Even in Spring Training, where Velasquez should be focused primarily on simply getting ready for the season and continuing to improve, he's started a war with umpires over pitches. Velasquez started barking at home plate umpire Junior Valentine in a game last Saturday. Thursday night, he was at it again in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, making comments to home plate umpire Ryan Blakney.

After the game, Velasquez told Matt Breen of Philly.com: "Me and umpires just don't get along for whatever reason, I guess. They don't like me or they can't see. I don't know what the case is."

Velasquez completed the quote with what is essentially the problem, although he doesn't seem to really take it to heart. "It's just one of those things where I've got to keep it under my tongue and just go about my business."

RELATED: Read the full Matt Breen article on Philly.com.

Perhaps somebody, pitching Bob McClure, or somebody, has already told Velasquez this, but if not, they need to. The case is this; 'You're a young pitcher who has had control issues. Like it or not, you're not going to get some calls, because of just that.' 

Last season, Velasquez walked more than three batters per nine innings, posting a walk percentage of 8.2. The 8.2% walk number was among the 40 highest in all of baseball last season. Those walks - and even the extra pitches that he throws where he doesn't wind up walking the guy - were the reason that Velasquez had the ninth highest pitches-per-plate-appearance in the National League last season at 4.02 P/PA.

Simply put, Velasquez doesn't have a reputation as a strike-thrower and umpires have gotten to know that. Whether it's right or not, on a close pitch, umpires are generally not going to give the call to a young pitcher and they're even less likely to give it to a young pitcher who isn't known for his command. That's an age-old part of the game of baseball. Guys like Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux got calls because they were known for throwing strikes and umpires often gave them the benefit of the doubt on close pitches.

Conversely, Velasquez is the type of pitcher who gets a lot of swing-and-miss strikes. He strikes out a lot of batters, which also requires throwing more pitches than pitchers who pitch to contact. When you add that to the control issues, it's a recipe for high pitch counts that won't let Velasquez go deep into games. Take Thursday night for example. If you look simply at his line, Velasquez had a decent spring outing - 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K - except for, you guessed it, the walks. Look a little closer and you'll see that he really was very fortunate. He threw 76 pitches in his 3 2/3 innings, and 37 of those - 49% - were balls. If this were the regular season, Velasquez might have made it through five innings, since he was averaging just over 20 pitches-per-inning. Last season, he averaged 16.9 pitches-per-inning. 

If Velasquez truly believes that umpires don't like him, he has to get over it. And more importantly, he can't talk about it to the press. Velasquez may believe that umpires can't see, but guess what, they can still read, and they can still talk, and his quote will get around. 

Some of the problem might just be immaturity. Some of it may be bravado. Whatever the mix, Velasquez has to start truly believing that he is getting in his own way. If he were to concentrate on commanding his pitches and being able to put hitters away quickly when he works ahead in the count, these problems would soon start to take care of themselves. Until then, Velasquez will keep stumbling over himself and will keep himself from becoming a true ace at the major league level.


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http://www.scout.com/player/216002-vince-velasquez/analysis?year=2017&s=309

When they acquired Vince Velasquez, the Phillies hoped - and thought - that they were acquiring a guy who could rise to be the ace of a major league rotation. Yes, there were health concerns about his arm, which prompted an innings limit last season. It's likely they'll continue to at least monitor, if not limit, his innings again in 2017. The bigger concern is that Velasquez continues to make trouble for himself.

Even in Spring Training, where Velasquez should be focused primarily on simply getting ready for the season and continuing to improve, he's started a war with umpires over pitches. Velasquez started barking at home plate umpire Junior Valentine in a game last Saturday. Thursday night, he was at it again in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, making comments to home plate umpire Ryan Blakney.

After the game, Velasquez told Matt Breen of Philly.com: \"Me and umpires just don't get along for whatever reason, I guess. They don't like me or they can't see. I don't know what the case is.\"

Velasquez completed the quote with what is essentially the problem, although he doesn't seem to really take it to heart. \"It's just one of those things where I've got to keep it under my tongue and just go about my business.\"

RELATED: Read the full Matt Breen article on Philly.com.

Perhaps somebody, pitching Bob McClure, or somebody, has already told Velasquez this, but if not, they need to. The case is this; 'You're a young pitcher who has had control issues. Like it or not, you're not going to get some calls, because of just that.'

Last season, Velasquez walked more than three batters per nine innings, posting a walk percentage of 8.2. The 8.2% walk number was among the 40 highest in all of baseball last season. Those walks - and even the extra pitches that he throws where he doesn't wind up walking the guy - were the reason that Velasquez had the ninth highest pitches-per-plate-appearance in the National League last season at 4.02 P/PA.

Simply put, Velasquez doesn't have a reputation as a strike-thrower and umpires have gotten to know that. Whether it's right or not, on a close pitch, umpires are generally not going to give the call to a young pitcher and they're even less likely to give it to a young pitcher who isn't known for his command. That's an age-old part of the game of baseball. Guys like Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux got calls because they were known for throwing strikes and umpires often gave them the benefit of the doubt on close pitches.

Conversely, Velasquez is the type of pitcher who gets a lot of swing-and-miss strikes. He strikes out a lot of batters, which also requires throwing more pitches than pitchers who pitch to contact. When you add that to the control issues, it's a recipe for high pitch counts that won't let Velasquez go deep into games. Take Thursday night for example. If you look simply at his line, Velasquez had a decent spring outing - 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 K - except for, you guessed it, the walks. Look a little closer and you'll see that he really was very fortunate. He threw 76 pitches in his 3 2/3 innings, and 37 of those - 49% - were balls. If this were the regular season, Velasquez might have made it through five innings, since he was averaging just over 20 pitches-per-inning. Last season, he averaged 16.9 pitches-per-inning.

If Velasquez truly believes that umpires don't like him, he has to get over it. And more importantly, he can't talk about it to the press. Velasquez may believe that umpires can't see, but guess what, they can still read, and they can still talk, and his quote will get around.

Some of the problem might just be immaturity. Some of it may be bravado. Whatever the mix, Velasquez has to start truly believing that he is getting in his own way. If he were to concentrate on commanding his pitches and being able to put hitters away quickly when he works ahead in the count, these problems would soon start to take care of themselves. Until then, Velasquez will keep stumbling over himself and will keep himself from becoming a true ace at the major league level.

Follow @PHLBaseballNsdr

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