Chris Volstad Isn’t as Bad as You ThinkBy
One look at Chris Volstad‘s 5.66 ERA, and most Marlins fans will turn away in disgust. The numbers, though, are a bit misleading. When you look at the former first-rounder’s Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP, which evaluates a pitchers performance using walks, strikeouts, hit batsmen and home runs allowed), the numbers are much better.
I should mention that the stat is scaled to read like ERA, so the lower the number, the better. He checks in at 4.63, which isn’t so terrible. However, when you dig a little deeper there is even more reason to not give up on the 24 year old righty. A variation of FIP, called xFIP assumes all pitchers have league average home run/fly ball rates. In short, home run/fly ball rates tell you of all the fly balls allowed by a pitcher, how many were home runs. As a pitcher, you would obviously want to have a small percentage of fly balls hit against you result in home runs. In this aspect, Volstad has a relatively good 3.64 xFIP. The big question is if he can or will be able to lower his HR/FB rate. As of right now, he is at a very poor 17.4%. Remember, the league average is 10.5%. Last year, though, Volstad actually had a very good HR/FB rate at 8.8%, so there is hope he can attain a lower rate in the future.
Also, Volstad’s struggles with allowing the longball were previously explored on this site in this piece by Mr. Burie.
Chris Volstad-ERA FIP xFIP
5.66 4.63 3.64
So behind that disappointing ERA, there is evidence that Chris Volstad is better than he gets credit for. Granted, the numbers still aren’t anything great, but they are much better than a 5.66 ERA suggests, and if he can somehow fix his Achilles heel for allowing home runs, he could become a much better pitcher.
And thats certainly nothing to turn away in digust about.