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 former Yankees 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 innings, Vizcaino has walked only 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 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 away from reaching the bigs.
The jump from A-ball to Double-A is generally regarded as the steepest one 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 innings at Gwinnett.
Considering the inconsistency of the Yankees' middle relief, Dunn might have fit well as a useful lefty in the bullpen.
However, the Vazquez deal isn’t all roses for the Braves right now either. Cabrera is playing like 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 assume 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 Yankees 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.