Rangers Prospect #3: Edinson Volquez

With a mid-90's fastball and dominant changeup, 23-year-old Edinson Volquez may have the highest ceiling in the entire organization. Rangers Insider takes an in-depth look at the pitching prospect.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Edinson Volquez
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: July 3, 1983
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Highly touted prospect Edinson Volquez – formerly known as Julio Reyes and Edison Volquez – did not make himself known to Rangers fans until a TV appearance in 2005. Playing with the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders, Volquez tossed a complete game shutout in a televised game against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

After Rangers fans witnessed Volquez's mid-90's fastball and dominant changeup, it was safe to say that Rangers fans were ‘hooked'. It wasn't long after that the famous "DVD" moniker was given to the pitching trio of John Danks, Edinson Volquez, and Thomas Diamond.

Despite the sexy stuff and catchy nickname, Volquez had yet to consistently dominate a league. The right-hander combined for a 4.16 ERA between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco in 2005, allowing just under one hit per inning.

But the performance was good enough to earn a late-season promotion to the Majors, where Volquez took his lumps. In just 12.2 big league innings in 2005, the righty posted a 0-4 record, surrendered 25 hits, and gave up 20 earned runs. Other teams also caught Volquez tipping his pitches, as he was seen opening his glove slightly more when gripping his changeup.

The prospect was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma for the 2006 season. For the first time in his career, Volquez was incredibly tough to hit, limiting opposing batters to a .203 average. However, Volquez also had problems commanding his pitches, leading to 72 walks in 120.2 innings.

The native of the Dominican Republic earned another shot at the Majors in 2006, but he was unsuccessful once again. Volquez's control was erratic, and he walked more batters than he struck out over his eight starts.

Repertoire: Fastball, Changeup, Curveball.

Volquez possesses a consistent mid-90's fastball that occasionally reaches up to 97 MPH. He has struggled to command his fastball since being called up to the Majors in 2005, and his fastball command is the key to his game. If Volquez can throw strikes with his fastball and get ahead early in the count, it makes his changeup all the more lethal. The righty's change is nothing short of devastating. Volquez began to work backwards with his changeup at times in 2006, throwing it early in the count to get ahead. His overhand curveball is nearly as good when it is on, but command of the curveball has been inconsistent at best.

Projection: The 23-year-old might have the highest ceiling in the entire organization. When Volquez is on, he has three plus pitches that can be thrown for strikeouts. But the Rangers have yet to see Volquez put it all together at once. If he is unable to do so, the Rangers could opt to put him in the bullpen, where his fastball-changeup combination would work well in the late innings.

2007 Outlook: Volquez will start the season with Triple-A Oklahoma, as the Rangers will hope that he can cut down on his walks and pitch counts. If he is able to keep his pitch counts down and get ahead early in the count, there will be no stopping the right-hander. Volquez will surely get another chance with the Rangers at some point in the 2007 campaign.

ETA: 2007.

Year Team W-L IP H BB SO ERA
2003 AZL Rangers (RK) 2-1 27.0 24 11 28 4.00
2004 Clinton (A) 4-4 87.2 82 27 74 4.21
Stockton (A+) 4-1 39.2 31 14 34 2.95
2005 AZL Rangers (RK) 0-0 2.0 2 0 2 0.00
Bakersfield (A+) 5-4 66.2 64 12 77 4.18
Frisco (AA) 1-5 58.2 58 17 49 4.14
Texas (MLB) 0-4 12.2 25 10 11 14.21
2006 Oklahoma (AAA) 6-6 120.2 86 72 130 3.21
Texas (MLB) 1-6 33.1 52 17 15 7.29

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