Pittsburgh Pirates: Dialogue on Vince Velasquez has Changed

Pittsburgh Pirates v Tampa Bay Rays
Pittsburgh Pirates v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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However, things started to change, as fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates have seen time and time again. All of a sudden Velasquez has turned into a very good pitcher for this team. He has an ERA of 3.06 and has not given up more than 3 earned runs in a start since his opening 2 appearances.

Vince Velasquez and the Pittsburgh Pirates have benefitted from a new approach.

Throughout his career, Velasquez has used his fastball a majority of the time out of his 4-pitch arsenal. That has been different this year. The Pittsburgh Pirates are having Velasquez throw his slider just as much as his 4-seam. Up until last year Velasquez never even hit 20% usage with his slide, he was at 22% last season. The Bucs were able to pick up on the effectiveness of the slider and he is now throwing it 43% of the time.

Opponent hitters are struggling with the pitch batting just .157 and all together whiffing 30% of the time. Sometimes players figure things out later in their careers and turn this around. Velasquez who had all the tools and talent as a prospect was not able to successfully transfer those tools to the Big League level. It appears now he and the Pittsburgh Pirates have figured out how to make his live arm work. Hopefully, when he comes back from the Injury List he can pick up where he left off. Who would have thought a statement like that being said 4 months ago?