Kansas City Royals Edinson Volquez: International Man of Mystery


It is hard to believe that Kansas City Royals starter Edinson Volquez is a mystery man.

But Edinson Volquez went by a different name, calling himself Julio Reyes when he was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2001 at the tender age of 17.  He apparently did it to avoid an immigration crackdown.  After 2003, he changed his name to Edison Volquez (notice this is not EdiNson Volquez–his current name.)  Shortly after that. he put a second “N’ in his name, creating his current name.  Confusing?  Just a bit.

Presumably the Edinson name is distinguish him from the inventor of the light bulb Thomas Alva Edison–known by baseball fans as the man who invented night baseball. So Volquez will be starting a game tonight night under lights invented by his predecessor with a slightly different name

So what his true name is (if there is such thing) has yet to be uncovered by baseball sleuths. One of his agents knows that it is not important as to what his name is. No one is going to know it besides some skilled GMs who need to pick up a free agent pitcher to help the Royals go to the LCS. “We believe his age is accurate,” one of Eddy’s agents, Bill Shupper, quipped.

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Usually he is known usually as Ned’s “Steady Eddy”–the guy who can consistently take the bump and throw a good, if not a spectacular, game. If Johnny Cueto can dazzle and “dizzle,” Volquez can eat innings. This year, he devoured 200 and 1/3 innings for the Royals. His ERA is not Greinke-like, but it is a solid 3.55, good for a middle of the rotation starter.  The 200 plus innings pitched is way above the 2nd most on the team–Yordano Ventura at 163.  It isn’t even close. Of the current starters, he has the best ERA (though the maddeningly inconsistent Chris Young, who won’t start but could, sits at 3.06). So who leads the team in strike outs on the Royals?

Well, it is a trick question.  Yordano Ventura has 156.  Who is second among all pitchers? The Eddy at 155. On the down side he also leads the team in walks at 72. But when you are that hungry for innings, the walk total is somewhat inevitable. That is 2.09 walks per appearance, which is not that bad of a number. For you stat geeks, his WAR is 5th among Royals.  His number is not like the Human Eraser Wade Davis.  But who could top that? Eddy is fifth among pitchers but first among starters.  As good as Cueto was Wednesday night, Cueto is last among pitchers with the Royals for WAR.

What’s not to like?  He did lose Game Three to the Astros. He gave up 5 hits. The problem was an uncharacteristic four walks in 5 and 2/3 innings. Those walks will roost.  He did get 8 strikes outs.

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His other name, according to ESPN, is the Little Pedro or as Eddy says “Pedrito” a name he proudly earned in his native Dominican Republic–of course a reference to his idol Pedro Martinez. One teammate said that Eddy thinks of Martinez as a minor god. The ESPN blurb says that if Eddy was in New York and Boston, Volquez would be a “household name.”

Curiously, earlier in his career he got in trouble with the Rangers and he was sent down to the class A minors with an absurd set of rules: get on and off the field in five seconds, on his pitching day only speak to the catcher; and have a written plan for the first nine batters.  Then use a No. 2 blade when shaving his head. That is not believable. And then first and foremost, always have his shirt tucked in.

Those days are behind Edinson Volquez now. These days, the Kansas City Royals International Man of Mystery will be taking the ball in a few short hours to kick off the ALCS.

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