Just 4 years ago, Chris Volstad was considered the top prospect in the Florida Marlins farm system, ranking ahead of guys like Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez. Things have changed since then. Last year he was just 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA and, according to MLBTradeRumors, he is now a non-tender candidate.
There are some things to like. Volstad continued to show good control, walking just 2.66 batters per 9 innings. His xFIP was a very respectable 3.64, perhaps indicating that he could bounce back with some better luck and some better defense.
His stuff is solid but not spectacular. His ceiling is more of a #3 starter than a front of the rotation type, though he has pitched more like a bottom of the rotation type for most of his career. At his best Volstad works in the low 90s and features a slider, a curveball, and a change-up. When he was the Marlins top prospect, it was his curve that was considered his go-to breaking pitch but he's turned more and more to his slider the past two seasons, throwing it nearly 20% of the time last season while throwing his curveball less than 10% of the time for the first time in his career.
That being said, it was his fastball that proved most hittable last season, even though there was no drop in velocity. Some feel that he's just around the strike zone too much with it and hitters are simply digging in. If the Cubs' scouts see something they can change in terms of approach perhaps they can take a flyer on the young pitcher. He's still just 25 and is under team control for the next three seasons. It's minimal risk and considering his age and talent, there's still some upside left.
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