When Ken Giles was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Houston Astros in early December of 2015, questions were abound. The main one being asked was: did the Phillies receive anything of value in return?
Vincent Velasquez is screaming from the mountaintops, that they did indeed get an impactful piece for Giles.
The 23-year-old right handed starting pitcher made a name for himself nationally on Thursday afternoon. Velasquez pitched a complete game giving up three hits, zero walks, while striking out 16 Padres. To put that into perspective:
Velasquez finishes with a 16-K, 0-BB CG shutout. The only other active pitcher who has ever had one: Max Scherzer
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 14, 2016
Max Scherzer is one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball. Velasquez is obviously nowhere near Scherzer’s level, and odds are very slim he ever will be. That being said, the talent a pitcher has to possess in order have a stat line like that, at the age of 23, certainly leaves the possibility open.
ESPN Senior Writer David Schoenfield said on the company’s website, “We may have just seen the most dominant pitching performance we’ll see all season, Vincent Velasquez made the Padres look like a bunch of minor leaguers.”
Though that sounds like an exaggeration, it may not be. Baseball hasn’t seen a perfect game since Felix Hernandez hurled one in August of 2012. Velasquez’s performance on Thursday was more impressive than most no-hitter’s we’ve come accustom to seeing.
Velasquez had 100% control over his location, while touching 95-96 MPH on the radar gun throughout the game. Padres players were being fanned left and right, and there wasn’t much they could do about it.
How could they, when the pitcher they’re facing is still throwing 96 MPH 100+ pitches into the game. Velasquez imposed his will on opposing batters all game. In his second start of the season, and only the ninth of his career, the right hander was unequivocally dominant.
Velasquez’s 23 strike outs sets the Phillies record for most Ks in a player’s first two starts with the organization, according to Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice.
The Phillies future is much brighter than it was last year, and at 5-5 to start the season, possibly brighter than anyone had thought pre-season this year.
One thing is for sure, trading Ken Giles was a smart move by Matt Klentak.
@DavidHennessey_ on Twitter