I’m not a stat guy. Never have, never will be. I go by my GUT and by my highly trained EYE to make decisions on the players I watch. Oh, your starting pitching has a high VoRP, but a below average WARP, so he’s not very effective? I could have told you that by just hearing the smack of one of his pitches as it hits a weathered, oiled catcher’s mitt on a bright summer’s day. That’s baseball, sonny, not nerds with their slide rules and protractors measuring launch velocity and bat angles.
But one stat I can get behind? One that all of baseball should recognize as a sign of extraordinary FUTILITY for starting pitching is the “Velasquez,” a statistic of my own creation.
“But Coggin!” I can hear you whining. “You just told us statistics are pointless! And you’re telling us to reopen the record books to include one more? We love you, you’re the best thing about Philadelphia sports and the reason any of us have social media accounts, but I’m just not sure we can get behind this!”
I understand your concerns, and let me assure you that you just need to shut the fuck up and let me explain what the “Velasquez” is before you jump off the handle. Everybody just cool out….COOL OUT, LET’S NOT GO CRAZY HERE.
The “Velasquez,” my dear reader, is in honor of Vince Velasquez, the Phillies high pitch volume, low efficiency, extraordinarily slow starting pitcher that everyone loves to hate.
A “Velasquez” is an appearance by a starting pitcher that lasts less than five innings in which he gives up three or more earned runs and throws more than 70 pitches.
For example, last night Zach Eflin threw 3.2 innings, gave up three unearned runs, and threw 95 pitches, barely missing out on his SEVENTH “Velasquez” of the season. He really Velasquez’d the hell out of that game last night.
Of the five original starters in the Phillies rotation this season (Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez, Jake Arrieta and Nick Pivetta) Eflin leads all members with 6 “Velasquez’s”.
Here is the full list of the 29 “Velasquez’s” thrown during the season:
Zach Eflin – 6
Vince Velasquez – 5
Aaron Nola – 4
Jerad Eickhoff – 3
Jake Arrieta – 2
Cole Irvin – 2
Nick Pivetta – 2
Jason Vargas – 1
Of note, Pivetta and Velasquez both likely would have had FAR MORE “Velasquez’s” on the year if they hadn’t been demoted from the rotation at times during the season.
Enyel De Los Santos came within four pitches of 70 in total for the ultra-rare “opener Velasquez” as the reliever opened a June 23rd game against the Marlins and pitched four innings, gave up four earned runs, and threw 66 pitches.
The “Velasquez” really is a statistic that separates the wheat from the chaff. It’s an embarrassment and gives you a perfect glimpse into the utter futility of a starting pitcher who throws way too many pitches for very little success.
It’s also important to understand that a “Velasquez” start is far longer than a normal start. More pitches thrown, more runs given up, more pitching changes likely needed at the end of the game means more minutes devoted to watching a game that is likely going to be dogshit for your favorite squad.
As a fan, do you want an enjoyable day at the ballpark? Then steer clear of a game being started by a pitcher that has a high number of “Velasquez’s” on the year if you don’t want to be cursing yourself for wasting money watching a 4+ hour loss.
So how do we go about getting this recognized by the MLB? This stat could change the way we view pitchers, how you play fantasy baseball, how teams are MANAGED.
Call your senator, call your governor, call Bud Selig (is he still the commissioner?) and let’s get this rolling.
The “Velasquez” is the future of baseball. Be on the right side of history and let’s do this.
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