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Volstad on right path...


Eddie Altamonte
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http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/articl...sp&c_id=fla

 

Volstad on right path to stardom

02/19/2007 2:46 PM ET

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

 

JUPITER, Fla. -- He's wearing No. 71 and stationed in a portable locker in the middle of the Marlins' clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium.

In the eyes of the organization, however, Chris Volstad is generally regarded as the team's No. 1 prospect.

 

The 20-year-old will likely open the season at Class A Jupiter, but at the rate he's progressing, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that he could see some big-league time this season or possibly next.

 

Selected 16th overall out of Palm Beach Gardens High School in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, the Marlins clearly aren't going to rush a prize pitching talent such as Volstad.

 

At 6-foot-7, 190 pounds, he was named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2006 after going 11-8 with a 3.08 ERA at Class A Greensboro.

 

Volstad's strong season earned him his first big-league non-roster invitation.

 

"It's definitely exciting when you see guys like Dontrelle Willis and Josh Johnson sitting around the same locker room you are sitting around," Volstad said.

 

Volstad's not stationed in an ideal locker stall. It's part of a portable set that will be removed later in Spring Training after the roster is trimmed.

 

"The little center locker isn't the best, but it's over on this side [not the Minor League section], so I'll take it," Volstad said.

 

Possessing a polished delivery and a 95-mph fastball, Volstad is a prototypical right-handed starter. He adds a curveball and changeup, giving him three plus pitches to go along with the maturity beyond his 20 years.

 

Just being in big-league camp is opening Volstad's eyes to what it takes to making it at the highest level.

 

"You see the right way to do things and the wrong way to do things," he said. "How to conduct yourself in a Major League clubhouse and how to deal with the fans and the media and things like that. It's definitely new to me to be around fans on the outside and reporters on the inside. There is a way to handle yourself as a Major League player."

 

Willis certainly knows the drill for prospects in their first big-league camp.

 

Back in 2003, Willis was stationed in the back corner of the clubhouse. He was given No. 77, and reminded of his youthful status.

"I still have my jersey from that day," said Willis, who now sports No. 35. "It makes me realize how far I've come as an individual. Every time I need to see it, I see it. I know it might sound cheesy, but for me, I need that. It seems like yesterday, but this is now my fifth year."

 

Willis said that it is a matter of time before Volstad becomes a Major Leaguer.

 

Since Volstad grew up in Palm Beach Gardens and his house is five minutes away from the ballpark, he spends so much time at Roger Dean Stadium. In recent weeks, Willis has spoken a few times with the promising prospect.

 

"Being able to see him the last couple of weeks, his mannerisms and the way he's throwing, I think he's a big leaguer," Willis said. "He has a lot of talent. He knows how to pitch already. He knows himself. Those are things you can't usually teach. His attributes are there already. I don't really see any flaws in him mechanically. All he needs right now is experience."

 

One of the rules Willis learned when he was in his first camp was not to use his cell phone in the clubhouse. He figured that out the hard way, getting yelled at by some veterans.

 

"It's just like being a young guy in the workplace," Willis said. "You don't want to do anything to step on the toes of anybody, especially the bosses. You have to keep your nose clean and stay focused, and you'll do fine."

 

Like other Minor Leaguers getting a look in camp, Volstad is being reminded not to try and overimpress anyone.

 

"I just need to try to do what I've been doing," he said. "They've told me, 'You got here doing what you have been doing, so don't try to change anything right now.'

 

"They haven't really said much. They tell us to go out there and try not to control too much because it's not up to us, it's up to them. They will make the decision."

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

From previous reports, I remember Volstad's fastball topping out lower than 95. Around 92, as I recall. Does anyone more familiar with such things know whether I'm mistaken, or has his velocity increased/is increasing?

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From previous reports, I remember Volstad's fastball topping out lower than 95. Around 92, as I recall. Does anyone more familiar with such things know whether I'm mistaken, or has his velocity increased/is increasing?

 

I've also read reports in the past about his fastball topping out a few ticks lower than 95. But FWIW, seeing him at workouts this spring, he looks like he's added some more muscle weight and filled out his frame a little bit. That could have something to do with it.

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

From previous reports, I remember Volstad's fastball topping out lower than 95. Around 92, as I recall. Does anyone more familiar with such things know whether I'm mistaken, or has his velocity increased/is increasing?

 

I've also read reports in the past about his fastball topping out a few ticks lower than 95. But FWIW, seeing him at workouts this spring, he looks like he's added some more muscle weight and filled out his frame a little bit. That could have something to do with it.

From the sounds of it, his frame will allow even more bulk. We can have a monster in the works. Can't wait to see what he has this spring.

 

*rubs hand together excitedly*

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In the 3 or 4 times I saw him pitch last year he never topped out over 93, usually hanging around 89-92. (of course this is according to the stadium gun so who knows if it was on or not)

 

But then again he is still real young and obviously will put on some more muscle as Hanley said...

 

Great article though...this kid is gonna be good

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I spoke to some people who played against him in high-school and would play with him on summer teams. The general thing I got is that he does a great job keeping the ball down, but that his stuff is hittable if it isn't down. To me, he reminds me of the 2003-04 Carl Pavano that we saw...certainly nothing at all wrong with that.

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From previous reports, I remember Volstad's fastball topping out lower than 95. Around 92, as I recall. Does anyone more familiar with such things know whether I'm mistaken, or has his velocity increased/is increasing?

 

He was topping out at 93-94 MPH back when he was a senior at Palm Beach Gardens. I had the chance to see him more than a few times back then...

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