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Marlins send former first-round pick Chris Volstad back to minors

Jul 23, 2011, 5:12 PM EDT

Chris Volstad Getty Images

After 93 big-league starts, 2005 first-round pick Chris Volstad is still struggling to establish himself.  He was optioned to Triple-A on Saturday following an outing Friday in which he allowed four runs — three earned — in five innings against the Mets.

It’s the third straight season in which Volstad has received a midseason demotion.  In 2009, he was sent down on Aug. 29.  Last year, the move came on July 7.  This year, his ERA actually peaked at 6.07 on June 14, but the Marlins stuck with him then and he bounced back to go 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his final three starts of June.  July, unfortunately, was a different story, as he pitched six innings in just one of his four outings.  He heads back to Triple-A with a 5-8 record and a 5.58 ERA.

The Marlins have long had high hopes for Volstad, but he’s been one of the game’s worst regular starters since arriving in July 2008.  Only four pitchers have started at least 90 games the last four seasons and posted a worse ERA+:

1. Fausto Carmona – 80
2. Kevin Correia – 82
3. Zach Duke – 85
4. Livan Hernandez – 85
5. Volstad – 89
6. Joe Blanton – 91
7. Kyle Lohse – 91
8. Aaron Harang – 92
9. Carl Pavano – 94
10. Barry Zito – 95

Volstad is just 24, and it’s doubtful the Marlins are giving up on him.  Still, he’s now out of options, so they won’t be able to go back to this well again next year.  The Marlins will likely turn to Brad Hand as Volstad’s replacement in the rotation for now.

  1. Old Gator - Jul 23, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Time to ship this one off for some midlevel prospects. He might be worth more but they won’t get more.

    • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2011 at 7:45 PM

      I have to disagree with you here, Old Gator. As Matthew has pointed out, he’s not good. He’s not an innings eater, averaging less than 6 IP/start. He’s out of options after this season, so he’ll have to be outrighted or tinker with things at the Major League level. He’s arbitration eligible, so he won’t be cheap any more.

      He is young and durable.

      I don’t think that he’s worth one midlevel prospect. I think he’s on the non-tender/NRI career path, which is a shame because he looked pretty good in 2008. I haven’t seen him pitch since.

      • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2011 at 11:47 PM

        He can be unhittable when he’s on, but he hasn’t been on very much this season, unfortunately. I don’t know what goes on in his head when he suddenly goes off the tracks in the third or fourth inning. But he’s the kind of pitcher that a pitching coach will watch and tell a GM, “He’s got a great arm and I can make this kid consistent.” And probably one can. Arms like that, combined with the durability you mentioned, aren’t all that common. He’ll bring something if the Feesh find the right match for him. Larry Beinfest used to be pretty good at that but he’s been looking mortal the last couple of seasons. We shall see.

  2. addictedzone - Jul 23, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Volstad specializes in blowing leads. Last time he returned from the Zephyrs he said he learned nothing from his demotion. Maybe he’ll learn this time.

    • Old Gator - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      I doubt it. I think he wants out of Macondo, frankly. His attitude stinks and he never has sounded very happy here. He’s got the talent but not the focus. He’s a classic candidate for a change of scenery.

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