Cubs Roster Previews: Chris Volstad
As the 2012 season approaches, Cubbies Crib is profiling each and every member of the Cubs forty man roster. Today, we are talking about Chris Volstad
As it stands Volstad will always be known as the guy the Cubs were able to salary dump Carlos Zambrano for. But with the help of pitching coach Chris Bosio, it will be up to Volstad to make that fact just a trivia question answer than his legacy as a Cub.
If you take a peak at his stat line from last season, you may be inclined to think that the Cubs got hosed, especially when Zambrano is fully capable of having a “comeback player of the year” type performance in 2012. In fact, if you look at his career numbers so far, you are almost certain that Volstad is a pitcher that you will not get excited about. It is fair to say that the former first round pick of the Marlins has yet to reach his potential.
However Cubs fans should not be quick to write him off. Some of the feel good stats include the fact the tall right hander eats up innings and makes his starts, a quality that has generally been lacking from home grown starters from the Cubs system. To be fair, his career high 117 strike outs in 2011 were left out in the summary above for last year. While that is not an eye popping number, it serves as an excellent segue to the stat that gives hope that Volstad is gradually making his way towards “getting it”.
Since his rookie season in 2008, Volstad has been able to lower his walks per 9 innings pitched stat each season from 3.8 to 2.7 last year. Cubs fans are well versed with the fact that Wrigley Field is going to allow more than its share of home runs over the course of a season, and the key is to limit the damage by minimizing the free passes.
While walks may just be one stat to go off it, it is one that helps provide a snapshot of a pitcher’s ability to command the strike zone, and a positive number in that column will have an impact on other statistics such as runs allowed, ERA, and ultimately a better chance to have a win loss record over .500.
With the Cubs rebuilding this season, the team will not need Volstad to have a break out year. He still does have the option to be sent down to the minors if he is not able to be one of the two winners for the final spots for the rotation. The best case scenario would of course have Volstad grabbing a rotation spot and getting another year of innings and starts under his belt.