Vincent John Velasquez
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 203 lb.
- High School Garey High School
- Debut June 10, 2015
Pitcher Vince Velasquez began his professional career in 2010.
He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2010 amateur draft, between pitcher Brandon Workman and second baseman Jedd Gyorko and ahead of pitcher Drew Smyly and shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
With the Greeneville Astros in 2010, he went 2-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 29 1/3 innings. After not pitching in 2011, he returned with the Tri-City ValleyCats, going 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA in 9 starts, striking out 51 batters in 45 2/3 innings. Between the Quad Cities River Bandits and Lancaster JetHawks in 2013, he was 9-6 with a 3.54 ERA, K-ing 142 batters in 124 2/3 innings and in 2014, between the GCL Astros and Lancaster, he was 7-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 18 games (13 starts), striking out 91 batters in 64 innings. He missed some time die to an injury in 2014 and as a result had to sped some time on a rehabilitation assignment with the GCL Astros, but he was very solid with Lancaster. His 7-4 record and 3.74 ERA may not look spectacular at first glance, but those were outstanding numbers in only 15 games in the pitcher's hell that is the JetHawks' home park.
Velasquez went 3-0, 1.37 in his first five starts for the Corpus Christi Hooks of the AA Texas League at the start of the 2015 season. He made his big league debut with the Astros on June 10th, giving up no runs in 5 innings in a start against the Chicago White Sox but ending up with a no-decision. He had been ranked the Astros' #4 prospect heading into the season. He made his debut a couple of weeks after Lance McCullers as Houston was starting to bring up some promising pitchers to complement the group of good young position players that had led them a surprisingly hot start after haunting the basement for a number of years. He earned his first career win on July 21st when he allowed 3 runs over 6 innings in an 8-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox after having been recalled form Corpus Christi just before the game to make the start. He was 1-1, 4.37 in 19 games for Houston, including 7 starts. He pitched 55 2/3 innings and struck out 58 batters while walking 21. He did not pitch in the postseason. On December 12th, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Mark Appel, Harold Arauz, Thomas Eshelman and Brett Oberholtzer in return for Ken Giles and Jonathan Arauz.
Vince made the Phillies' starting rotation out of spring training in 2016 and got off to an outstanding start, as he did not give up a single run over his first two outings, both of which he won. The second of these, against the San Diego Padres on April 14th, was his first career shutout, and it was a beauty. he gave up only three hits and no walks and struck out 16 opponents in a complete game 3-0 win. the 16 strikeouts were tied for third most in Phillies history, behind Chris Short (18) and Art Mahaffey (17); the three other pitchers who had struck out 16 in a game for Philly were pretty illustrious names: Steve Carlton, Curt Schilling and Cliff Lee. On June 8th, however, he left a start against the Chicago Cubs after only two pitches with a biceps strain and was placed on the disabled list the next day. Tests showed that the damage was only inflammation and not something more serious, to the Phillies' relief. He came back with a strong performance in his return on June 27th, as he pitched 5 shutout innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks and was credited with an 8-0 win. he won his next two starts as well, improving to 8-2, 3.32 at the All-Star break. His second half was not as good, however, as he did not win another game after that, while being charged with 4 losses. He did not pitch after September 3d and finished the year at 8-6, 4.12 in 24 games, having logged 131 innings.
Velasquez struggled both with his health and on the field in 2017, as he went 2-7, 5.13 in 15 starts. He then started the 2018 season slowly, with a record of 1-4, 5.70 in 6 starts in March and April. This was in contrast to the rest of the team, which was playing quite well under new manager Gabe Kapler after poor results the previous few years. Velasquez began to turn things around in May, when he won his first three starts and began to lower his ERA slowly but surely. By June 2nd, he had brought it down to 3.82. He then suffered a bad beating at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers on June 8th when he allowed 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings. However, he bounced back with one of the best outings of his career on June 14th. facing the Colorado Rockies, he did not give up a hit until two were out in the 7th, when Trevor Story managed an RBI double off him. he ended up a 9-3 winner. On June 30th, facing the Washington Nationals, he was hit in the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Adam Eaton. Amazingly, he dropped his glove, picked up the ball with his left hand and threw out Eaton before having to leave the game. X-Rays showed he only had a bruise. On August 28th, he was used as a pinch-runner at a critical juncture of a game against the Washington Nationals, but made a costly mistake that cost the Phils a potential win. The Nats had taken a 5-3 lead in the top of the 9th, when C Wilson Ramos hit a run-scoring double; Velasquez ran for him at second base and took of for third of a fly out by Jorge Alfaro. He made it safely, but Washington appealed that he had left the second base bag early, and a video review confirmed that they were right and he was called out, ending the game.
On August 2, 2019, the Phillies emptied their bench in a game against the Chicago White Sox that went deep into extra innings. In the bottom of the 13th, Vince was asked to pinch-run for Zach Eflin, who was done after pitching a couple of innings, but he did not score, and in the 14th manager Gabe Kapler had to resort to desperate moves, with CF Roman Quinn pitching and Vince playing LF. He showed some unsuspected talent at the unfamiliar position: he made a great throw to gun down Jose Abreu at home plate in the 14th inning, then in the 15th, almost turned the trick again, as Leury Garcia barely slid in ahead his throw. He then ended the inning with a magnificent tumbling catch to rob Eloy Jimenez of a base hit, but the Phillies were unable to score and lost the game, 4-3, on Garcia's run.