The challenge with prospects. 301 comments

Twelve years and two Tommy John surgeries later, Edinson Volquez returns.


About fifteen years ago, Edinson Volquez was the V part of the vaunted DVD trio of pitching prospects that were going to transform the Rangers franchise and bring winning baseball for years to come.

DVD. John Danks, Edinson Volquez, and Thomas Diamond. They were can’t miss. They were that once-in-a-lifetime franchise changing hope. They would, finally, bring this franchise badly needed respectability in the pitching development department.

They were the future. Certainly, three or four Cy Young awards would follow (the hype and expectations were, indeed, that high). Add some offense around them and this team finally had what it takes to win it all.

Volquez came up first. The righthander made his major league debut at the age of 21, late in the 2005 season, making six starts, going 0-4 with a raw-prospect-like 14.21 ERA. Not exactly setting the world on fire but careers have to start somewhere.

The next year, 2006, Volquez went 1-6 in eight late-season starts, cutting the ERA in nearly in half to 7.29. He was much better in his six late-season starts in 2007, going 2-1 with a much more respectable 4.50 ERA.

But, before it really got started, DVD was finished. Derailed. Vanished. Disappeared. Before the 2007 season, the first D, John Danks, was traded to the White Sox for pitcher Brandon McCarthy. Danks was a solid lefty for Chicago during his entire ten-year career, all with the White Sox. He never pitched for the Rangers.

Volquez was traded to Cincinnati before the 2008 season for some guy named Josh Hamilton. His first season with the Reds, Edinson made the All-Star team and was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting (apparently not having logged enough innings in his previous three stints with the Rangers to exceed the rooking innings qualification total).

He got injured in 2009 and never regained that dominating form, having since played for five different teams, most recently Miami. He did have a no-hitter in there, and some decent seasons. Volquez missed all of last year recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.

Thomas Diamond was the one the Rangers kept. He didn’t fair so well. He hurt his arm while pitching in Double-A for Frisco in 2007, had Tommy John, and never really recovered. The Rangers cut him in 2009 and the Cubs signed him. He pitched in 16 games for the Cubs in 2010, mostly out of the bullpen, going 1-2 with a 6.83 ERA. After that, he was out of baseball.

DVD is the cautionary tale of the difficulty of drafting and handicapping prospects. Especially pitching. To say they were a complete bust isn’t fair or accurate. Without Edinson Volquez, there is no Josh Hamilton. Without Josh Hamilton, there are no Glory Days.

Fourteen seasons after making his debut with Texas, Edinson Volquez takes the mound tonight again for the Rangers. Against a guy named Darvish.

Welcome back, V.


Yu Darvish (0-0, -.–) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-0, -.–)
Game time: 7:05