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.

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

    • Fangraphs has his avg velocity on his sinker at 91 mph. I’d definitely say he is a longshot, but there is no risk on a minor league deal, so can’t hurt to try

      • 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?

        • Well, according to Fangraphs, he is a totally different pitcher now than he was as a rookie, but the velocity is the same. They have him as a fastball/curve pitcher early in his career, while in 2012, he was a sinker/slider pitcher. Pirates like sinkerball pitchers, but he seemed to have more success before he started throwing it often

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

            • He wasn’t exactly that good back in 2009-11(lowest ERA was 4.58 during that time), but it was more successful than his last three years. He’s only had one good year, but he made the switch in 2012 and it has not worked at all.

  • 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

  • formerdraftpick
    January 30, 2015 4:56 pm

    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.

  • 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.

  • AAA depth at best?