Lost in the Aroldis Chapman mania, the fast start to the big league career of Mike Leake, and the talent in the young arms of Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, there is a nearly forgotten man that has something none of them have: That is, an all star appearance, and a first half to a season that none of those guys, as of this point, have ever touched.
The reintroduction of Edinson Volquez, the talented Dominican right-hander who featured a devastating change up and rode it to an all-star berth in 2008, is set to occur in a matter of weeks.
Really, this has the potential to be a classic baseball story. Phenom sets baseball world on fire, league figures him out, he gets hurt (in his case, Tommy John surgery), and then the redemption tale.
The acquisition of him was a controversial one. Many Reds fans were sad to see Josh Hamilton go, but there were no promises of future health. Additionally, Volquez had maturity issues in Texas. What ended up happening was that both men were huge additions to their ball clubs, as it was a win-win for each team.
The parallels continued the next year, only for the worse. Hamilton and Volquez were hurt for much of 2009. This year, Hamilton has bounced back, and soon, Volquez will get that chance to match that.
He won't need the motivation to prove that the his fast start wasn't a fluke. A 50-game suspension for a performance enhancing substance, the addition of the other aforementioned young Reds pitchers to the forefront, and people just writing him off entirely. Here's an excerpt from Baseball Prospectus.
"Volquez will miss most if not all of the 2010 season and will return in 2011 as a 27-year-old pitcher with only one full major-league season under his belt. After watching the struggles of Francisco Liriano, a more talented pitcher, last year, we find it difficult to be optimistic about Volquez's ability to return to the front of the rotation."
A lot of good points in there, but the beauty of the game is that he has the chance to prove people wrong. He's already well ahead of schedule, Tommy John surgery is really nothing more than just a bump in the road these days.
If he's anything like the pitcher he used to be, and if Chapman delivers the goods, the Reds could be looking at a future rotation of Volquez, Chapman, Bailey, Cueto, and Leake. Not only is the present exciting, but the future has the chance to be as well.