Evaluating The Talent: Chris Volstad


Exit Juan Nicasio, enter Chris Volstad?

No need to get ahead of ourselves, but a couple more impressive appearances by Volstad paired with continued struggles by Nicasio and it might become a conversation. If nothing else, we know that Nicasio is no longer a given for the rotation. For so much of the off-season we just presumed it would go Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Nicasio, Jeff Francis, and somebody else. It might be that it was never fair for us to assume Nicasio was ready for that.

Volstad in his first photo as a member of the Rockies. Image: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

For his part Volstad still has a long way to go. Besides competing with the likes of Drew Pomeranz, Christian Friedrich, and Tyler Chatwood, he has to prove that he is truly ready to rescue his career from its underachieving status. After all, we know it signals a certain level of desperation for a pitcher to join the Colorado Rockies by choice. On the one hand you have Volstad, the 6’8″ former first round pick whose talent was on display when he won 12 games for the Marlins in 2010. On the other hand you have Volstad, the guy who flopped with the Chicago Cubs in 2012, kicked back and forth between the minor leagues, went 3-12, and ended up signing with the Rockies.

On Monday Volstad made an impressive Cactus League debut. It wasn’t just the fact that he threw 2 scoreless innings; it was that he recorded 5 ground balls to get those outs. It is nothing to get excited about yet, but it could be eventually if Volstad proves he can do it consistently.

For a while now I have thought that the Rockies, with no expectations whatsoever entering this season, could benefit from a guy with something to prove. A guy with a chip on his shoulder, as the cliche goes. For Volstad, a guy who is trying to avoid the “bust” label, what better way is there to flip off the critics, analysts, and whomever else than to go succeed in Colorado?

If he does crack the rotation, Volstad will not be expected to be anything more than a stable presence at the back of the rotation. It is not unreasonable to think a guy with his talent can do that. Even if he has to do it….gasp….at altitude!

Where should Volstad be in 2013? I’m not sure. It depends on the rest of Spring Training.

Where will Volstad be in 2013? If I have to predict now, I believe he will be in the Colorado Rockies starting rotation, reactionary though that prediction may be at this point.