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Marlins demote struggling starter Chris Volstad to Triple-A

Jul 7, 2010, 1:48 PM EDT

Chris Volstad went 8-4 with a 2.83 ERA through his first 20 starts after debuting as a 21-year-old in mid-2008, but he’s just 11-21 with a 5.36 ERA in 41 starts since then and today the Marlins demoted him back to Triple-A.
What’s interesting about Volstad’s fall from grace is that the underlying numbers within his performance really haven’t changed that much. His strikeout rate, walk rate, and ground-ball percentage have more or less remained constant each season and his yearly Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) figures are 4.59, 4.32, and 4.43.
The big differences have been more balls in play falling for hits, fewer runners being stranded on base, and teams running at will on him. Opponents going 20-for-21 stealing bases in just 98 innings this season is certainly on Volstad, but the other stuff is mostly some combination of luck, defense, and the life of a pitch-to-contact ground-ball starter.
His career xFIP is 4.43 and his career ERA is 4.42, so the secondary numbers tell a very accurate story as long as you’re willing to focus on the big picture. Volstad wasn’t as good as he looked right away and isn’t as bad as he’s looked recently, and as a 23-year-old starter with a 4.43 ERA in 338 career innings–including a decent enough 4.45 mark this season–you’d think the Marlins would have a little more patience.

  1. Old Gator - Jul 7, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    No you wouldn’t if you’ve been watching them on a day to day basis. The Feesh hit the panic button when Fat Freddi was bounced, and even before that the New Orleans shuttle has been running full bore for the past month or so. Pitchers have been going up and down like kiddies on a carousel. To make matters worse, Volstad’s GPFX*T2Vq4, which is his walks per innings pitched combined with his ground ball outs booted for two base errors divided by the number of times the guy pinch hitting for him lined into a double play squared averaged into his runners not in scoring position who scored when his relief pitcher coughed up a gopher, subtracted by the number of times his planchette ran off his ouija board the night before he pitched, has been steadily oscillating.
    Volstad is July 31 trade bait now. Bringing up Badenhop to replace him in the lineup is really neither adding nor subtracting anything meaningful, which insinuates to me that the Feesh have gotten tired of waiting for both of them and are merely putting his replacement on short term display as well.

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