Baseball Is Bad
This is not good.
Vince Velasquez just pulled from the game after throwing two 87 mph fastballs. Uh-oh.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) June 8, 2016
The popular refrain around Vince Velasquez when he was a prospect was something along the lines of: “The stuff is excellent, but can he stay healthy?” And it looks like his health is back in question again.
Prior to being removed from the game, Velasquez made no obvious gestures as to what exactly was bothering him. He didn’t grab his elbow. He didn’t particularly grimace. He simply started the game without an ability to throw a baseball the way we all know he can. Given the long-term significance of a healthy Velasquez, expect the Phillies to exhibit an abundance of caution with this injury — whatever it may be.
In the likely scenario that Velasquez’s rotation spot needs to be filled, potential call-ups include: Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, and
Alec Asher. All three pitchers are performing well for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Asher is already on the 40-man roster which should give him a leg up if the diagnosis isn’t as dire as we fear and the Phillies only seek a short-term replacement. Eflin and Thompson are the superior prospects and are both likely to debut in Philadelphia at some point this summer on the strength of their fine performances in Triple-A. They’re also both just 22 years old and if one of them gets the call he would instantly become the youngest National League starting pitcher not named Julio Urias.
UPDATE 2:55 ET: As Kram209 pointed out in the comments, Asher is injured. With Severino Gonzalez’s move to the bullpen this season, this leaves David Buchanan as the only obvious rotation candidate on the 40-man roster. Buchanan is struggling this year in Triple-A with a 4.96 ERA and an awful 9.2% K-rate. It’s difficult to imagine him being called on for much more than a spot start at this point, but if the Phillies don’t believe Eflin and/or Thompson are ready, I suppose Buchanan could conceivably get the call.
Anyways, today stinks.