Stats Corner: Pirates' Volquez cruising through innings
Since his All-Star rookie season with the Cincinnati Reds in 2008, Edinson Volquez has been a model of pitching inefficiency.
The right-hander has the second-highest career walk rate (4.68 per nine innings) among active pitchers tossing 800-plus frames, besting only Oliver Perez, and the third-worst park-and-league adjusted ERA (15 percent below average).
As a Pirate, however, Volquez has been Greg Maddux-like in his approach.
Once known for fooling hitters with mid-90s gas, Volquez has posted his lowest strikeout rate (5.6 per nine innings) since he debuted with Texas in 2006. But Volquez, now sitting near 92 mph on the radar gun, has more than offset those lost strikeouts by issuing a career-low 1.7 walks per nine innings. Instead of nibbling, the 30-year-old is attacking batters: Volquez has thrown the fourth-highest rate of pitches over the plate (54.6 percent) among starters logging at least 20 innings, according to Fangraphs. His career rate: 45.7 percent.
Volquez is peppering the zone with his sinker, generating strikes nearly 73 percent of the time. He's also doing a better job of spotting his curveball, which he's throwing more often (31 percent of total pitches) compared to 2013 (24.7 percent).
With his aggressive, control-oriented approach, Volquez is making quick work of opposing lineups instead of getting quick hooks from his manager. He has tossed the second-fewest pitches per inning among starters this season, averaging just more than 13 each frame. Last year Volquez labored through 17.7 pitches per inning.
Pitcher Team P/inning
Tim Hudson Giants 12.6
Edinson Volquez Pirates 13.1
Tyler Skaggs Angels 13.3
Mark Buehrle Blue Jays 13.3
Yu Darvish Rangers 13.5
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.