Texas Rangers: Edinson Volquez

Don Welke key in scouting Rangers talent

July, 3, 2012
7/03/12
11:09
AM CT
It’s no wonder the Texas Rangers have been to consecutive World Series and have a club record seven All-Stars when you put Don Welke’s words into perspective.

“We are never satisfied with where we are because we always want to be better. We always want our players to feel that way. That’s a big part of our emphasis,” Welke said during a conversation on Rangers Magazine (ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM).

PODCAST
Don Welke discusses when he first scouted Rangers All-Star pitcher Matt Harrison for the Mark Teixeira trade.

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Welke is the senior special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, and it’s a role he’s held since 2006. He previously has worked for Pat Gillick, a baseball executive who last summer was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Welke scouted for Gillick, who put together the back-to-back World Series winners in Toronto (1992/1993).

Welke plays a significant role for Daniels in scouting amateur talent for the June draft as well as this time of year when it comes to scouting possible trade pieces.

“We talk about different possibilities, different players. Try to be thorough in all regards ... regarding scouting pro: major league, minor league. I will be out seeing some guys that we might pinpoint as possibilities,” Welke said. “The trade type thing to me is we’ve got to have the player they want. We had Edinson Volquez, [the Cincinnati Reds] wanted him bad. We wanted Josh [Hamilton] bad of course, but we had the player they wanted. We had Justin Smoak, and [the Seattle Mariners] wanted him, so we got Cliff Lee. Those trade things are interesting the way they shake down, and we just try to be thorough.”

It is interesting. The Lee deal was made knowing that he would be a free agent after that 2010 season, but the Rangers would get draft picks when he didn’t sign and they would have reliever Mark Lowe beyond that season. Last year, the Rangers made trades for relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara knowing they would have them beyond 2011.

Welke also discussed when he first scouted All-Star Matt Harrison for the Mark Teixeira trade, what led him to recommend the Rangers sign Martin Perez, honoring area scouts, his theory on free agents, the definition of “special,” Josh Hamilton’s talent, his involvement in the June draft, and the shared qualities of Gillick and Daniels. Listen to the podcast for part one of this two-part interview with Welke.

Scott Feldman happy to hit, pitch in

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
8:00
AM CT
SAN DIEGO -- Texas Rangers starter Scott Feldman was excited when the San Diego Padres intentionally walked Michael Young to bring him to the plate in the sixth inning Tuesday night.

Feldman, who picked up his first win of the season, wanted a chance to bat.

After hitting the ball hard and flying out in his previous at-bat, he delivered this time -- driving in a run on a single in the Rangers’ 7-3 victory at Petco Park. It was the third hit and first RBI of Feldman’s career.

“That was fun,” Feldman said.

Feldman (1-6) also helped himself with his pitching. He struck out five, walked none and allowed two runs in six innings to snap a six-game losing streak.

“It’s another positive step for me,” Feldman said. “I got through six innings tonight, which I hadn’t done yet. Hopefully, next time it’ll be seven. Command-wise, it was better. I was more trusting in my other pitches besides just my fastball. I threw some off-speed pitches in some big situations.”

It was Feldman's second consecutive start without a walk. He has allowed two walks in his last 18 innings.

“I had a little stretch there, first getting back into some game action, I was walking a lot of guys,” Feldman said. “It’s not me. I’ve got to go after these guys and try to make them hit ground balls.”

Feldman lowered his ERA from 6.50 to 6.00. He scattered seven hits -- all singles -- allowing a run on two hits in the second inning and a run on three hits in the sixth.

“He pitched out of situations,” manager Ron Washington said. “He kept the ball down in the zone and he got the ball in play. That was a very good outing, very good. And he swung the bat a little.”

Besides earning his first victory of the season, Feldman enjoyed facing former teammate Edinson Volquez, who started for the Padres. The ex-Ranger gave up six runs in five innings to drop to 3-7.

“It was kind of funny because me and Volquez came up together in the minor leagues, so I’ve known him forever and we were kind of joking around a little bit (Monday) about it," Feldman said. "It was fun to face him.”

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Padres 3

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
12:28
AM CT


SAN DIEGO -- Josh Hamilton returned to the Texas Rangers lineup Tuesday and showed he’s healthy, going 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs in the Rangers’ 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Hamilton was back in the lineup for the first time since Thursday after recovering from an intestinal virus. He hit a go-ahead, two-run triple and scored on a shallow sacrifice fly in the third inning of the Rangers’ fifth consecutive win.

Starter Scott Feldman (1-6) earned his first victory of the season, allowing two runs, striking out five and walking none in six innings.

The Rangers broke the game open with a three-run sixth that gave them a 6-1 lead. Adrian Beltre hit his 12th home run in the seventh for a 7-2 margin.

Padres starter Edinson Volquez struggled against his former team, allowing six runs, striking out six and walking four in five-plus innings.

The Padres rallied for a run in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-2 but left two on base against Feldman. Tanner Scheppers gave up a run in the ninth.

Hamilton recap: Besides his triple and single, Hamilton also grounded out and struck out twice. He started in center field and moved to left field in the seventh.

Checking it out: The umpires confirmed that Beltre’s hit off the right-field foul pole in the seventh was a home run after they consulted instant replay. Brad Brach gave up the solo shot.

Injury update: Mitch Moreland exited the game in the second inning with a left hamstring strain. He’s day to day. Michael Young replaced Moreland at first base in the bottom of the second after Moreland suffered the injury running to first base after hitting into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the top of the second.

Helping himself: Feldman drove in a run on a line-drive single for a 6-1 lead in the sixth. It was the third major league hit of the pitcher’s career. He also hit the ball hard in his previous at-bat, lining out to left field in the fifth.

Remember when...: Hamilton faced one of the pitchers from the trade that brought him to the Rangers. The Cincinnati Reds traded Hamilton in 2007 to Texas for Danny Herrera and Volquez, who started for the Padres. Hamilton struck out in the first, tripled in the third and singled in the sixth against Volquez.

Lack of command: Walks have been an issue for Volquez, and he loaded the bases with three walks in the second inning. But he escaped when Moreland hit into an inning-ending double play. Volquez has walked 51 in 87 2/3 innings.

The end of his night: The Rangers knocked Volquez out of the game by scoring two runs on three consecutive hits to begin the sixth. Hamilton singled, Beltre doubled and Nelson Cruz hit a two-run double for a 5-1 lead.

Ks: After striking out a season-high-tying 12 times in Monday’s 2-1 victory over the Padres, the Rangers struck out 10 times Tuesday.

Defensive gems: After replacing the injured Moreland, Young made a nice play at first base in the fifth inning, snaring a sharp grounder off Nick Hundley’s bat. Beltre made a lunging play at third base to grab a liner in the seventh.

Matchup: Scott Feldman vs. Edinson Volquez

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
12:39
PM CT

SAN DIEGO -- The Rangers play Game 2 of their interleague series against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night at Petco Park. RHP Scott Feldman will make his eighth start of the season for the Rangers, while RHP Edinson Volquez will take the mound for the Padres. Here’s the matchup:

Feldman (0-6, 6.50): The 29-year-old right-hander will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak. … The longest of those six starts was 5 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants on June 9. … His six losses in a row are the longest season-opening streak by a Texas pitcher since C.J. Wilson in 2005. … Feldman is the first Ranger to lose his first six decisions as a starter since John Dettmer in 1994. … Feldman is 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA in 12 career interleague starts and 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against National League teams this season.

Volquez (3-6, 3.70): The Padres’ Opening Day starter will be making his first start against his former team. … The Rangers signed Volquez as an amateur free agent in 2001, and he made his big league debut with them in 2005. … In his last start, he snapped a four-game losing streak on June 14 against the Seattle Mariners when he allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings. … Volquez is 1-3 with a 3.17 ERA at Petco Park this season. … He is 4-3 with a 5.29 ERA in interleague games in his career.

Hitters: The Rangers have limited experience against Volquez. … Adrian Beltre is 1-for-9 against the right-hander. Alberto Gonzalez, Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba are all 0-for-2 against Volquez. … Against Feldman, the Padres’ Carlos Quentin is 3-for-11 with a double, a home run and two RBIs. Mark Kotsay is 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI against Feldman.

Up next:

Wed. at SD: RHP Yu Darvish (8-4, 2.57) vs. RHP Anthony Bass (2-7, 4.88), 5:35 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Thu.: Off
Fri. vs. Col.: TBD vs. LHP Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/TXA-21
Sat. vs. Col.: RHP Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.00) vs. RHP Mark Guthrie (3-6, 7.02), 2:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Sun. vs. Col.: LHP Matt Harrison (9-3, 3.41) vs. LHP Josh Outman (0-2, 8.44), 6:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Former Ranger Volquez part of Latos trade

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
2:36
PM CT
The San Diego Padres traded pitcher Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday for four players, including starter and former Ranger Edinson Volquez. Read more about the trade here.

I mention this because, as Rangers fans remember, Volquez was the centerpiece of the trade that brought Josh Hamilton to Texas on Dec. 21, 2007. Texas also traded LHP Danny Ray Herrera in that deal. It was not an easy trade for the Rangers' front office to make. At the time, the club didn't have many top-flight pitching prospects and Volquez certainly was one of those. But many Texas scouts felt that Hamilton was a special player who could do it all in the field and at the plate. Clearly, we've seen they were right.

Volquez made 32 starts that first season in a Reds uniform and had a 17-6 mark with a 3.21 ERA. But he hasn't been able to duplicate any season close to that since. Injuries have hampered his ability to increase his work load as he threw just 49 2/3 innings in nine starts in 2009 (back spasms and then elbow surgery), 62 2/3 innings in 2010 (recovering from the surgery) and 108 2/3 innings in 2011. He struggled, posting a 5.71 ERA and a 5-7 record. Perhaps a change of scenery will help.

The trade, which also included infielder Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal (two of the Reds' top prospects) plus minor league reliever Brad Boxberger, means the market for Gio Gonzalez, Matt Garza, John Danks, Wade Davis and others probably just got better for the GMs of those teams. We should know even more about those markets once the Yu Darvish dusts settles (the winning team in the bidding will be revealed before or around the 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline).

Rewind: Trading for OF Josh Hamilton

November, 23, 2010
11/23/10
1:02
PM CT
Nearly three years before Josh Hamilton claimed his first MVP Award after helping the Rangers to the World Series in 2010, general manager Jon Daniels and his staff faced a difficult decision.

The Cincinnati Reds were willing to trade an outfielder with all of the tools to become one of the top players at his position. But they wanted a young starting pitcher who had the upside to become a longtime member in their rotation.

The Reds wanted Edinson Volquez; the Rangers didn’t want to give him up. For nearly a month, the Rangers tried all kinds of different combinations of trades to acquire Hamilton without trading Volquez. But it became very apparent that if the Rangers wanted Hamilton, they had to part with one of their top pitching prospects.

“Our scouts felt we were acquiring one of the most talented players in the game,” assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “It came down to who do we value more: a premium position player who plays every day or a starter who pitches every five days. We felt the everyday player was of slightly greater value. But it was a debate.”

At the time, the Rangers were coming off a 75-87 season and were stressing rebuilding the pitching staff. So to trade one of the few high-level pitching prospects in the organization wasn’t an easy decision.

“In trading Edinson Volquez, we felt strongly we were trading a pitcher who had All-Star capabilities,” Levine said. “He’s a guy we had signed and developed. He had grown with us. We felt like he was on the cusp of breaking through in the big leagues. We knew his arsenal was one that if he harnessed it, he was going to have success.”

But the idea of having an elite centerfielder and a former No. 1 pick with all the tools was too good to pass up. After the 2008 season, both teams felt like they got a good deal. Hamilton wowed the nation with his performance in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium and hit .304 with 32 homers and 130 RBIs. But a changed swing that didn’t feel comfortable and a series of injuries caused Hamilton to have a disappointing encore. He played in just 89 games and hit .268. Interestingly, injuries also hurt Volquez, who missed nearly all of 2009 after reconstructive elbow surgery. The recovery carried into 2010 and at one point Volquez was moved to the bullpen. But Volquez made some tweaks to his delivery and had a solid finish to the season, good enough to earn a start in the postseason.

Of course, Hamilton put up career-best numbers, including a .359 batting average and a .633 slugging percentage on his way to the MVP Award.

“There were scouts in the room before we made the trade that said he could be the best player in the game from a talent standpoint,” Levine said. “Those same people thought he was capable of doing what he did last year, too, when he had some injuries and prolonged slumps. That’s part of the challenge in evaluating the true person we were acquiring.”

The Rangers did their homework and were convinced that Hamilton was on the right path off the field and could be a force on it. Three years later, it’s become one of the key trades in Daniels’ history as general manager.

“It’s pretty telling that a guy that missed the last month still made contributions that the BBWAA deems to be better than players who played for six months,” Levine said. “I think they’re right.”

MLB bans Volquez for 50 games

April, 20, 2010
4/20/10
2:13
PM CT
Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez, traded to the Reds from the Rangers before the 2008 season as part of the deal that brought Josh Hamilton to Texas, has received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, MLB announced today.

The suspension begins Wednesday, April 21. Volquez was on the 60-day disabled list following Tommy John surgery.

For more, go here.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.97 142 115
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .337
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 51
RA. Beltre 51
OPSA. Beltre .917
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142