It’s difficult to solve all the world’s problems from the Club Level Bar. However, as I prepare for today’s game between the IronPigs and the Indians, I’ll attempt to do just that. Of all the problems I can think of, I think I’ll choose to start with Vince Velasquez.
As you know, Vince is an exceptionally talented pitcher, currently in the Phillies’ starting rotation. He’s had his difficulties this season–and dating back to when he joined the team last year, really. He came over from the Astros organization in the Kenny Giles trade. He was a well-regarded piece of the deal, but considered raw–and he hadn’t started a bunch.
Part of the difficulty last season, which has continued into this year, is his inefficiency. He’s really never been able to go deep into games consistently. He’ll strike out his fair share of batters, but he’ll have some walks and he’ll give up some hard hit balls.
Is it a mechanical issue? Is it mental–he’s known to be on the emotional side out there? What role does the game plan play in all this? What have the coaches worked on with him? Is it as simple as using the wrong pitch in the wrong situation?
Well, unfortunately I’m not able to answer those questions definitively. What I can do, though, is offer up my opinion on what I’d do to “fix” him.
Vince, meet your new best friend. His name is Andrew.
Now, I know Andrew Knapp has called Velasquez’ starts in the past, and there hasn’t been an appreciable difference in the results. However, I’d pair the two together and make Knapp Velasquez’ “personal” catcher for the foreseeable future. They’ll work together on the off-days. Game plan together. And the pitching coaches will work with them in tandem to try to improve the on-field results in the next, say, 6 Vince starts. They’ll room together. Eat together.
They might not like each other by the end of it. But they’ll work together to get some better results. Knapp will get some additional, consistent playing time out of the deal and will have a vested interest in the success of his battery mate. Going forward, he’ll have the ability to communicate with other catchers about what kind of game plan works best for Velasquez.
Perhaps it’s overly-simplistic. Perhaps they’re a bad match to work together. Maybe it won’t work. But Rupp hasn’t been super at calling games, and Knapp should get some additional playing time anyway. At this point, what could it hurt?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of “Blogging From The Bar.”
Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level