PITTSBURGH -- At first, Edinson Volquez thought it was a joke, that he was being set up. Being recognized by Baseball America as having the third-best fastball in the Majors, right behind fireballing closers Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel?
But when the Pirates righty was shown the proof in the publication's current "Best Tools" issue, Volquez had a different reaction.
"Hey, Ray!" he shouted, calling for Pittsburgh pitching coach Ray Searage, his eyes as wide as saucers.
"Imagine when I was 19," Volquez, 31, said. "That's still not too bad, huh?"
Nearby teammates also had a reaction.
"You gotta show that to [Gerrit] Cole when he returns," said Jared Hughes, referring to the rehabbing right-hander who last season often hit triple-figures on the radar as a rookie.
Fellow Dominican Stolmy Pimentel scowled as he leapt from his stool in the adjoining locker in mock anger: "I disagree!"
Volquez, the Bucs' leader in wins with nine, has averaged 94, 95 mph on his fastballs, which in early June peaked at 97 mph.
"That's never bad news," manager Clint Hurdle said when told of the ranking. "Good for him. We all felt the raw skill set is one that catches your attention."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less