KC Royals Fantasy Heroes: Edinson Volquez Shows Command


The big fantasy development for the KC Royals on Thursday was Edinson Volquez‘s strong start in Kansas City’s 4-1 victory over the White Sox.

In the early going, the Kansas City Royals look like a confident team that expects to win. Honestly, it’s as if the Royals feel like it’s still October and the self-belief they gained in the Wild Card victory over Oakland is still fresh in their minds.

The KC Royals did lose Billy Butler, Nori Aoki, and team leader James Shields in free agency last winter. However, Kendrys Morales, Alex Rios, and now Edinson Volquez have been solid replacements (if not improvements) in the season’s early stages.

As an interesting side note, the Kansas City Royals beat Chicago starter John Danks for the first time in eight career decisions.

[Note: Sorry for the late post. I missed the day game and had to wait until the replay was available on MLB.com]


Now, it’s not just that Edinson Volquez gave the Kansas City Royals 8.0 innings while allowing only 4 hits, 1 runs, and striking out 5. The big story was his one walk.

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Control problems have dogged Ednison Volquez his entire major league career. He has a career walk rate of 11.5% of batters faced, which declined to 8.8% last season (close to the MLB average 8.3%).

It’s also no accident that Volquez enjoyed his best season since his career year in 2008. In 2014 for the Pirates, Volquez was a solid 13-7 in 192.2 innings pitched, with a 3.04 ERA. This strong season comes after a mediocre 11-year career in which Volquez has a 4.41 ERA and well below average adjusted ERA of 88 (ERA+ 12% below a league average pitcher).

Analysts looked with jaundiced eyes at Edinson Volquez’s high fielding independent pitching (FIP) of 4.15, and his drop in strikeout rate to 17.3% down from his career rate of 20.3%. Most of them attributed his strong season to a combination of good luck, and Pittsburgh’s outstanding defense.

Pundits expected Volquez to fall back to earth with the KC Royals as a barely league average starter who has never logged 200 innings in a season. However, Edinson Volquez attributes his strong 2014 to learning how to fix his erratic delivery.

Volquez limiting the White Sox to one walk gives increased weight to the idea that he made a breakthrough in Pittsburgh rather than enjoying a fluke season that he’s unlikely to repeat.

That would be good news for the KC Royals, who bet a 2-year, $20 million contract that Volquez could hold down a rotation spot.


The KC Royals offense fell back to earth on Thursday after racking up 17 runs in their first two games. Even so, the KC Royals scored 4 runs and added another home run to hit five dingers in three games.

Eric Hosmer was the only Royal with more than one hit, but neither of his singles lead to a run in a 2 for 4 day.

Alcides Escobar continues to thrive in the leadoff spot. He scored in the first inning after starting the game with a double, Mike Moustakas‘ bunt advancing him to third, and scoring on Lorenzo Cain‘s ground out.

Escobar went 1 for 3, with 1 double, and 1 run scored.

Paulo Orlando made his major-league debut, becoming only the third Brazilian to play in a MLB game. Orlando went 1 for 3 with 1 triple, 1 walk, and added a nice running catch in place of Alex Gordon in left field.

Salvador Perez struck the big blow for the KC Royals clubbing a 2-run home run in 6th off John Danks. Perez finished the day 1 for 3, with the home run (1), 1 walk, 1 run scored, and 2 RBI’s (4).


Lorenzo Cain has still got it in centerfield, making two outstanding running catches. You can see them by clicking here and here. The key is that Cain, and the rest of the Kansas City Royals defense, will make pitchers post better numbers than their talent.

Edinson Volquez dominated going 8.0 innings, allowing 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run with 5 strikeouts. Volquez has good stuff, including a 95 mph power sinker. The question has always been command. He had it on Thursday.

Volquez got the win to go 1-0.

Greg Holland pitched a clean inning with 2 strikeouts to earn his second save of the season.


The KC Royals travel to Los Angeles to take on the Angels. The Kansas City Royals will send Jason Vargas (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound against Hector Santiago (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Angels. Game time is 9:10 CST at Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

Next: Luke Hochevar Close To Returning To KC Royals

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