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Friday, May 21, 2010

Scouting Report RHP Javier Vasquez

The 33-year old Javier Vasquez was drafted in the 5th round in the 1994 draft by the Expos, and is in his 13th major league season. He's started 32+ games every year since 2000, and has thrown 200+ innings in nine of the last 10 years (the one year he missed he threw 198 innings). He has a career 4.24 ERA, with an exceptional K/9 rate (8.15) and minimizes walks (2.37 W/9). He has been victimized by the long ball, and his career FIP is 3.86. Last year he was phenomenal with the Braves, and it was the best year of his career. He had a 2.87 ERA (2.77 FIP), with a K/9 rate of 9.77 and 1.81 W/9. He finished in the top 4 of the Cy Young voting. Vazquez is 9-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 23 starts against the Mets lifetime, and was 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in two starts against them last season.

Vasquez throws from a 3/4 arm slot and has good command of a running/sinking fastball that he throws between 89-93 mph; he likes to throw it up in the zone with two strikes. He also throws a tight slider(83 mph), a big breaking curve-ball (74 mph) and a plus change-up (80 mph). Vasquez is also an outstanding fielding pitcher. His mental make-up has been questioned, and he definitely fared better last year with low-key Bobby Cox (as well as the weaker league) than the previous year of "in your face" Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox.

So far this year he has struggled and the Yankee fans have made him hear it. He is 2-4 with an 8.01 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. He did get a one out win this week when he appeared as a reliever versus the Red Sox. He is continuing to strike out hitters at an above average rate (8.31 K/9), but his walk rate is terrible (5.04 W/9). He has also once again fallen victim to the long ball (8 HR in 30 innings). Why such a drastic change? Whether he is injured or not, or if it's his mechanics, his fastball velocity has fallen 2.5 MPH from last year. His average fastball is now 89 MPH. Nothing else has changed (pitches/velocity/usage of his pitches). His only pitch that has been above average this year has been his slider. His last start versus the Tigers was impressive and it may have represented him turning the corner this year. He threw seven innings, allowed only two runs, five hits and two walks, while striking out seven.

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