Pirates Sign Chris Volstad to Minor League Deal

According to Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed 28-year-old right-handed pitcher Chris Volstad to a minor league deal. He was a starting pitcher for four season with the Florida Marlins before being dealt to the Chicago Cubs prior to the 2012 season. Volstad had a 4.59 ERA in 584 innings with the Marlins, having his best season as a rookie in 2008 when he had a 2.88 ERA in 14 starts and one relief appearance.

With the Cubs, he had a 6.31 ERA in 21 starts and was put on waivers at the end of the season, where he was picked up by the Royals. After getting released before he pitched a game for Kansas City, Volstad signed with the Rockies and got hit hard in six relief appearances during the 2013 season. In 2014, he made 14 starts in Korea, posting a 6.21 ERA. In July, he signed with the Angels and made seven minor league starts, getting hit hard again, finishing with a 6.18 ERA.

Volstad was ranked in Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list three times from 2006 until 2008, topping out at #40 in 2007. He is an extreme ground ball pitcher, posting a career 2.07 GO/AO ratio in the minors and 1.52 in the Majors.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Brian Bernard

What kind of velocity does he possess? Seems like a long-shot, but after last year with Holdskom is anything a long shot anymore?


Hey John. This guy was so dominant at 21 years old. Is this just a case of so much mileage his arm has fallen off? Was his velocity more impressive when he first broke in, do you know? If so, is that a simple explanation as to why he isn’t as easy a fix as some fans might hope?


I might have more success than he’s had over the last few years

Chris Hale

These minor league deals for reclamation projects is going to be an assignment for Jim Benedict than Ray Searage. Benedict deserves every bit the credit Ray Searage does. Which why so many ML teams want him


I do think that Volstad is a good pickup and a good project. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did see some action at the major league level in 2014. They have some good reclamation projects this year in Clayton Richard, Blake Wood, and Volstad. I wish them luck.


This guy was always one of John Sickels’ favorites. Glad to have him aboard.


Simple fix…just put his two fingers close together on the ball…..
Well , it worked for Holdzkum didn’t it ?


Volstead huh? Wonder how he ACTS around alcohol!


So… “Dr. Ray’s Home for Wayward Arms” has a new patient? Good! Given Chris Volstad’s size and propensity for inducing ground balls, he seems like a prime candidate for “The Pitch Whisperer” to work with. A no-risk move for the Bucs. You can NEVER have enough pitching!


He couldn’t even get hitters out in another country. That doesn’t bode well. There goes our chances for a AAA championship


He’s one of those “oh yeah, what happened to that guy” guys.


Very true. When they acquired worley, and clayton richard, I had the same thought. I forgot they existed lol.

Sean Epstein

Good pickup with no risk. The Pirates recent success and depth is going to make it harder for them to attract some reclamation projects. Simply no spots for them. Not a bad problem to have.


Looks like a nice project. The kind the Pirates like 6″8″ 230 pounds.

Lee Foo Young

AAA depth at best?


I’m having deja vu from last year’s pick up of Vance Whorley.


Volstad doesn’t have Worleys makeup or control but he could get turned into an ok reliever.


That is better than deja vu of the Jonathan Sanchez pick up 2 years ago heh.

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