Will​ ​2018​ ​Be​ ​the​ ​Year​ ​the​ ​Phillies​ ​Finally​ ​Move​ ​Vince​ ​Velasquez​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Bullpen?

Now​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Phillies​ ​have​ ​rounded​ ​out​ ​their​ ​staff,​ ​it’s​ ​time​ ​to​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​roster decisions.​ ​Chief​ ​among​ ​them​ ​should​ ​be​ ​how​ ​to​ ​utilize​ ​strikeout​ ​pitcher​ ​Vince​ ​Velasquez. Velasquez​ ​has​ ​proven​ ​he​ ​has​ ​more​ ​than​ ​enough​ ​talent​ ​and​ ​poise​ ​to​ ​make​ ​it​ ​at​ ​the major​ ​league​ ​level,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​question​ ​is​ ​in​ ​what​ ​capacity?

Although​ ​Velasquez​ ​possesses​ ​electric​ ​stuff,​ ​he​ ​has​ ​really​ ​struggled​ ​to​ ​put batters​ ​away​ ​quickly​ ​and​ ​manage​ ​his​ ​pitch​ ​count.​ ​In​ ​fact,​ ​Velasquez​ ​only​ ​pitched​ ​six​ ​or more​ ​innings​ ​twice​ ​in​ ​fifteen​ ​starts​ ​this​ ​past​ ​season.​ ​Not​ ​only​ ​was​ ​it​ ​difficult​ ​for​ ​the hard-throwing​ ​righty​ ​to​ ​make​ ​it​ ​deep​ ​into​ ​ball​ ​games,​ ​but​ ​he​ ​got​ ​progressively​ ​worse​ ​as the​ ​game​ ​wore​ ​on.

Velasquez’s​ ​ERA​ ​and​ ​opponent​ ​batting​ ​average​ ​both​ ​spiked​ ​from​ ​the​ ​first time​ ​through​ ​the​ ​order​ ​to​ ​the​ ​third,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​obvious​ ​that​ ​he​ ​just​ ​didn’t​ ​have​ ​the​ ​same juice​ ​late​ ​in​ ​games​ ​he​ ​flashed​ ​early.​ ​This​ ​was​ ​the​ ​third​ ​consecutive​ ​season​ ​that​ ​this​ ​has been​ ​an​ ​issue,​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​fair​ ​to​ ​wonder​ ​if​ ​a​ ​move​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bullpen​ ​would​ ​be​ ​best​ ​for​ ​both Velasquez​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Phils.

I​ ​think​ ​Velasquez​ ​has​ ​the​ ​potential​ ​to​ ​be​ ​an​ ​all-star​ ​closer​ ​if​ ​given​ ​the opportunity.​ ​His​ ​high​ ​velocity​ ​and​ ​strikeout​ ​rate​ ​makes​ ​him​ ​an​ ​ideal​ ​candidate​ ​to​ ​come out​ ​and​ ​shut​ ​the​ ​door​ ​in​ ​the​ ​ninth​ ​inning.​ ​A​ ​move​ ​to​ ​the​ ​pen​ ​would​ ​also​ ​severely decrease​ ​his​ ​pitch​ ​count,​ ​which​ ​should​ ​allow​ ​him​ ​to​ ​remain​ ​efficient​ ​throughout​ ​the course​ ​of​ ​the​ ​season.​ ​The​ ​Phillies​ ​would​ ​be​ ​wise​ ​to​ ​at​ ​least​ ​experiment​ ​this​ ​idea​ ​since they​ ​enough​ ​young​ ​arms​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​the​ ​starting​ ​rotation​ ​afloat​ ​without​ ​Velasquez​ ​and​ ​are still​ ​unsure​ ​of​ ​who​ ​the​ ​closer​ ​of​ ​the​ ​future​ ​is.

This​ ​isn’t​ ​to​ ​say​ ​that​ ​Velasquez​ ​won’t​ ​figure​ ​things​ ​out​ ​as​ ​a​ ​starter,​ ​but​ ​at​ ​this point​ ​it​ ​seems​ ​unlikely.​ ​If​ ​his​ ​talents​ ​will​ ​be​ ​maximized​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​pen​ ​the​ ​Phils​ ​simply have​ ​to​ ​make​ ​this​ ​move.

 

Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

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