Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ex-Yankee Prospect Vizcaino Excels, Exacerbates Vazquez Woes

June 10, 2010
By Anthony Tripicchio

Javier Vazquez is a free agent after this season, but a reminder of his acquisition may haunt the Yankees long after he's gone.

Arodys Vizcaino, the 19-year-old Yankee pitching prospect given away in the trade for the embattled Vazquez, is annihilating his competition at Rome, Atlanta's Single-A affiliate.

Vizcaino is 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA and those numbers don't begin to tell the story of how dominant he's been.

Striking out 66 in 69 1/3 innings, Vizcaino has walked nine. Tantamount to his freakish strikeout to walk ratio is Vizcaino's 0.99 WHIP. He hasn't issued a walk since May 6 and he's thrown 33 2/3 scoreless innings over his last five starts.

As devastating as those numbers must be to GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees' organization, Vizcaino remains about three years from reaching the bigs.

The jump from A-ball to Double-A is generally regarded as the steepest as prospects climb in the minor leagues so Vizcaino still has some hurdles to clear. However, Vizcaino's rapid progress is an ominous sign for an already ill-fated offseason.

Receiving Vazquez and Boone Logan from the Braves, the Yankees shipped Melky Cabrera, left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn, Vizcaino and $500,000 to Atlanta in the Dec. 23 trade.

Incidentally, Dunn is also turning heads in Triple-A. Dunn is 1-0 with a razor thin 0.67 ERA over 26 2/3 innings at Gwinnett.

Considering the inconsistency of the Yankees' middle relief, Dunn might have fit well as a useful lefty in the bullpen.

The Vazquez deal isn't all roses for the Braves right now. Cabrera is proving to be the fourth outfielder he is with a .243 average, one homer, 14 RBI and a pathetic .616 OPS in 169 at-bats.

In fact, it's the unheralded former Yankee and 2002 AL Rookie of the Year Eric Hinske making more of an impact in the Braves' lineup. Protecting red hot Troy Glaus, Hinske is batting .306 with four homers and 22 RBI in limited duty.

Improving, Vazquez has been torched in only one of his last five starts. With that said, it's fair to assert that Yankees' GM Brian Cashman would like a mulligan on this one.

If the season ended today, Vazquez would be on the outside looking in at the Yankee playoff rotation. CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, AJ Burnett, and Phil Hughes are all markedly better options.

Meanwhile, Vizcaino is painting a picture of his future and it's an intimidating image for the Yankees.


lanienyc said...

Are you kidding? Javy has been pitching just fine lately, if you haven't noticed.

Anthony said...

He's been good in four of his last five starts, but his ERA is still 5.63 so it goes to show you how mediocre he's been overall.

If you're content giving up a potential frontline starter for a one year rental who won't even make the postseason rotation, that's your prerogative.

I wouldn't recommend building too many teams that way.