Thursday, April 28, 2011

Javier Vazquez II

Some owners are still heavily invested in the success of Javier Vazquez. Zucchiniboy is one of them. After I responded to his initial inquiry about Vazquez and Kyle Lohse, he had a follow up on Vazquez.
On his start on 4/9, he had some velocity but very little movement on his fastball, which resulted in 8 hits. On 4/15, he lost a ton of velocity but got his movement back, then on 4/23 he got his velocity back up to 89 and even hitting a max of 91.5, with horizontal movement closer to his career norms. The results (aside from the 5 walks) were much better on 4/23. If he gets back to 89.5 or 90 avg. velocity with that movement, do you think he could get back to respectability?
I think it's possible. My honest answer is that I don't know for sure one way or another.

Vazquez had been sitting at 91-92 MPH on his fastball for years. 89-90 MPH would certainly be an improvement over where has been, but it would still leave him a little short.

One of the challenges with this type of analysis is that I can easily cherry pick starts that show Vazquez doing well in this range and can also find starts where he sat here and tanked. Vazquez was averaging in the high 80s last year against the Rays on April 9 and versus the White Sox on May 1 and got shelled. But then against the Mets on May 21 he was sitting at 88 MPH and threw up six excellent innings. Increased velocity would certainly help Vazquez, but he had successful starts in '10 without it.

I watched a good portion of his April 23 start and noticed that he was using a new delivery. It almost looked as if Vazquez was using the form of a tennis player serving the ball across the net. Vazquez would stand still and then push off using his legs. I don't know if this had anything to do with his increase in velocity, but Vazquez still looks like he's trying to figure things out.

My recommendation on Vazquez remains the same for now. Stay away until he figures out what he's doing. Maybe he'll get better, but right now he looks like a huge risk.

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