…or do I suck for drafting him?
Everyone knows the story line… Javier Vázquez struggled in New York before (2004) and Ozzie Guillen said he can’t pitch in big games. Everyone knew there was going to be some regression leaving the NL East for the AL East, but how much regression was the Million Dollar Question. If he stayed in ATL, Vázquez would have been a top 10 pitcher and a top 5 on some people’s cheat sheets. Some people left Vázquez out of their SP ranks altogether and I seen him go in the 2nd Round of a deeper, expert mock auction before the season started, so there were mixed feelings to say the least.
Kaboom: the Implosion There is no other way to say it, Vázquez sucks ass this year!!! I blame him and Julio Borbón for burying one of my H2H teams in the early going. I didn’t want him, I was caught trying to drive the price up. Anyway, Javier is rocking a 9.78 ERA and 2.04 WHIP and his ownership level has dropped to 74%. His average Fastball velocity is down over 2 mph (88.9 mph from 91.1 mph in 2009), his Walk Rate has more than doubled (5.87 BB/9 from career avg 2.37 BB/9) and he’s allowed 8 HR in 23 Innings. It really can’t get much worse. Javier has hit rock bottom and I hate to say it, but he is a half way decent Buy Low target. Ugghhhhhh did I just say that? Yuck.
Reasons for Hope The Yanks pushed back Javier’s start so he could get in a bullpen session and work on his mechanics. Pitching coach Dave Eiland worked with Javier to tweak some small details in his delivery to ensure his body is moving in the right direction. Joe Girardi was reportedly encouraged, but there were no details about the velocity. He threw 35 pitches, mainly Fastballs and Changeups. His Fastball (-7.9 runs below avg) and Changeup (-1.4 runs below avg) definitely need work, they’ve regressed bigtime. Last season his Fastball was valued at 12.7 runs above avg and his Changeup was 10.7 runs above avg. Back in 2004, Javier posted a 1.29 WHIP and 4.91 ERA with the Yankees. Rumors have been spread (by Javier’s dad and Jorge Posada) that Vázquez was hurt in the 2nd half and his pre/post All-Star break splits back up the gossip: 1.15 WHIP, 3.56 ERA vs 1.49 WHIP, 6.92 ERA.
Is it possible the bullpen session and small tweaks bring back the real Javier Vázquez? I will be starting him vs DET tomorrow, I have faith. He says he feels more comfortable in New York his second time around and I believe mechanical tweaks can make a big difference for pitchers. Even if he throws well tomorrow, the window to Buy Low won’t necessarily close. I’m sure owners will look to dump on him with any kind of positive news that could drum up some trade interest. If I were to
project guess what kind of numbers Vázquez posts the rest of the way, I’d say: 1.25 WHIP, 4.30 ERA, 8.2 K/9 with 13 Wins. Of course, he could be hiding an injury… again. He wouldn’t even tell Posada about it after his dad did and his velocity fell to 89.3 mph in July of 04 and 87.9 mph in August of 04. I’ll be chickenhawking his start tomorrow vs DET, especially his velocity.