Astros Promote RHP Vincent Velasquez to MLB


The Houston Astros have had a very busy 24 hours, and the news doesn’t stop coming. Just barely twelve hours after promoting their top-rated prospect, shortstop Carlos Correa, the team will be calling up RHP Vincent Velasquez from AA Corpus Christi, according to Brian McTaggart of Velasquez will join the team in Chicago and is expected to make his first start on Wednesday against the White Sox. Roberto Hernandez will be moved to the bullpen.

VV was scheduled to make a start last night for the Hooks, but was scratched. For those who follow the minor league system closely, this looked to be an impending move.

During 2015, Velasquez made five starts and pitched 26.1 innings, where he posted a 1.37 ERA/0.91 WHIP with 37 strikeouts and nine walks. He has only given up one home run on the season. FanGraphs, as of last year, said that Velasquez projects to be a mid-rotation starter with a good fastball and a curve that needs improvement. VV’s success this year at double-A has certainly turned heads and with the Astros’ rotation getting beat up in recent weeks, it looks to be a good time to promote him.

The 23 year-old pitcher, whose birthday was yesterday, was originally drafted by the Astros in the second round of the 2010 draft. He’s had some injury issues throughout his minor league career, but is still highly thought of around baseball. Velasquez was the fourth-rated prospect in Houston’s farm system.

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The call up of another pitcher comes as no surprise. Outside of Dallas Keuchel, no other pitcher has been consistent this season. This was also one of the weaknesses that was not really addressed in the offseason other than bringing in Roberto Hernandez to take the fourth or fifth place in the rotation. On the season, Hernandez is carrying a 5.18 ERA/1.42 WHIP and has given up 38 earned runs over 66.0 innings. Collin McHugh has disappointed recently, too, and now has 4.34 ERA/1.24 WHIP after giving up 37 earned runs over 76.2 innings. Not to mention the early season struggles of just about everyone who has pitched in the fifth spot, including Asher Wojciechowski and Sam Deduno.

Not only has the pitching been up-and-down outside of Keuchel, but the Astros have been bit by the injury bug. Brett Oberholtzer has been plagued with a recurring blister on his finger, Brad Peacock was sidelined with a lat injury after recovering from hip surgery, and Scott Feldman recently had surgery on his knee after tearing his miniscus. It’s been a series of events that has led to the promotion of the Astros’ young talent.

Velasquez’s promotion is the second high-profile pitching prospect to get the call to the big leagues this season, after Lance McCullers Jr. With the recent trade chatter surrounding the Astros, one has to wonder if this is a showcase move to set up a trade, or if the team intends on keeping Velasquez long-term if he performs well.

Next: What About The 37th Overall Pick?

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