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Revisiting Rangers' DVD pitching prospect trio

Danks, Volquez, Diamond were among most highly anticipated pitching prospects in Rangers history
@Sullivan_Ranger
February 25, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- DVD. Fourteen years ago, just about every Rangers fan knew what those letters stood for, and it had nothing to do with home video equipment. They stood for three electric pitchers who carried the franchise’s future on their shoulders. “Oh yeah, I remember that a little bit,”

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- DVD.

Fourteen years ago, just about every Rangers fan knew what those letters stood for, and it had nothing to do with home video equipment. They stood for three electric pitchers who carried the franchise’s future on their shoulders.

“Oh yeah, I remember that a little bit,” Edinson Volquez said with a chuckle on Tuesday morning in the Rangers' clubhouse. “We still have our fans in Frisco. They used to love us. A lot of good memories.”

John Danks, Edinson Volquez and Thomas Diamond were collectively known as the DVD. One signed out of the Dominican Republic, the other two were first-round Draft picks in 2003 and ’04.

Their talent, charisma and catchy moniker made them among the most widely anticipated pitching prospects in Rangers history. Perhaps only David Clyde -- No. 1 overall in 1973 -- and the Bobby Witt-Kevin Brown duo in 1985-86 could rival them.

“They were obviously our top three pitching prospects,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “They were all kind of lined up timing-wise and home grown. Obviously, we had a vision for our rotation, but …”

They are a cautionary reminder of how tough it can be to develop starting pitching, especially when it comes with high expectations. This was at a time when the Athletics were enjoying great success with Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson.

The parallels -- real or imagined -- were too easy to ignore for a franchise well-known for an excess of offense and a lack of pitching.

“No, we enjoyed that time,” Volquez said. “It was easy for us. To know we were the super biggest thing, we enjoyed it. A lot of questions from reporters, a lot of eyes behind you. But at the time we were so young, we didn’t think about pressure. We enjoyed each other like brothers.”

By 2005, they were all lined up and pitching together at Double-A Frisco, a couple of toll roads away from Arlington. It was only a matter of time.

“One day, we were in Double-A in Frisco,” Volquez said. “Diamond was pitching, me and Danks were talking about when we get to the big leagues, who was going to be pitching first, and who was going to be pitching behind who.”

Danks was the first to go. After reaching Triple-A in 2006, he was one of three pitchers traded to the White Sox for right-hander Brandon McCarthy. Diamond spent 2006 at Frisco, leading the Texas League in wins and strikeouts, but came down with an elbow injury the following spring and needed Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. Like Danks, he never pitched for the Rangers.

Volquez was the only one of the three who did. He went 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA over parts of 2005-07 before being traded to the Reds for Josh Hamilton.

Danks pitched 10 seasons for the White Sox and is now retired. Diamond was never the same pitcher after injuries. He pitched in 16 games for the Cubs in 2010, but was done after spending the following season in the Minor Leagues. Volquez is still around, back with the Rangers and coming off his second Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

DVD is only a memory.

“I was so mad,” Volquez said. “I didn’t want to get traded. We wanted to be together in everything. We wanted to hang out together. Every time we did something, we wanted it to be together. The whole thing was like, I don’t know how that happened, all three of us put together like that. Just like the Minor Leagues, we wanted to be together in the big leagues.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.