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October 3, 2010

Analyze This

Javier Vazquez, The Yankee

by Jesse Behr

Analyze This is a new weekly blog series in which Special Assistant Jesse Behr looks at a variety of intriguing and comparable stats that could stir up some discussion. Today, we’ll look at Javier Vazquez’s two adventurous campaigns with the New York Yankees.

August 26, 2004 – NY Yankees vs. Cleveland
1.1 IP, 5 H 6 E, 2 BB, 1 SO

While Johnny Damon’s double-homer show in Game Seven of the ALCS was (and still is) undoubtedly infamous, it’s Javier Vazquez’s part in the 22-0 massacre against the Indians that showed his “true (Yankee) colors.” After an All Star first-half in pinstripes, Javy compiled a 6.92 second-half ERA in 79 1/3 IP. His postseason performance that October was nothing but the icing on the cake. Fast forward to six years later …

September 29, 2010 – NY Yankees vs. Toronto
4.2 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO

Re-acquired by New York in an offseason trade, Señor Vazquez has suffered through a tragic return to the Bronx. The line above was his last start of the season—and probably his last with New York—against the Blue Jays. There was nothing pretty about that outing, a horrible sign for a playoff-bound club. Vazquez has been been in and out of the rotation, and regardless of what role he has been filling, Vazquez has clearly not been the player the Yankees thought the Braves were shipping north. Let’s take a look at his overall statistics with the Bronx Bombers in 2004 and 2010:

YEAR

GS

IP

W-L

ERA

BB

SO

SNLVAR

SNWP

SIERA

2004

32

198.0

14-10

4.91

60

150

3.9

.497

4.20

2010

26

157.1

10-10

5.32

65

121

0.4

.427

4.54

Jay Jaffe pointed out to that Yankees have had so little trust in Vazquez that he's on his way to his lowest innings total since 1999, the first time he hasn't made 32 starts since 199, or struck out 150 batters after a streak of 10 straight seasons doing so.

Here's how hard Javy has thrown in New York compared to his career averages:

YEAR

FB% (MPH)

SL% (MPH)

CB% (MPH)

CH% (MPH)

2004

56.9% (90.1)

4.6% (79.9)

15.0% (73.6)

23.6% (79.6)

2010

53.4% (88.7)

14.5% (82.5)

17.3% (73.3)

14.7% (79.0)

Career avg.

55.0% (91.0)

13.0% (83.2)

15.0% (74.2)

16.3% (80.4)

Vazquez’s slider usage has sky rocketed since 2004 (+10.1%, +2.6 MPH in 2010), while he’s gone to his changeup way less this season (-8.9%, -0.6 MPH). Is this the case of Javy trying to hard to get swings and misses? In the next set of stats, you’ll see Vazquez’s attempts to throw at hitters rather than around:

YEAR

BB9

SO9

HR9

BABIP

2004

2.7

6.8

1.5

.274

2010

3.7

6.9

1.8

.270

Career avg.

2.4

8.9

1.2

.300

Decreases in Vazquez's BABIP has lead to an increase in HR/9 and BB/9. With his decreased velocity, he's not overpowering hitters, and he hasn't found a rhythm. Unfortunately, he's done a poor job of it all season long. Did trading for Javier Vazquez (-1.5 VORP) hurt New York's chances of an AL East division crown? Now, it’s time for you (the commentators) to discuss Vazquez’s NYC Mysteries and tell us where you think Javy will pitch in 2011.

Jesse Behr is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jesse's other articles. You can contact Jesse by clicking here

5 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Reintroducing PECOTA: ... (10/01)
<< Previous Column
Analyze This: Checking... (09/19)
Next Column >>
Analyze This: Foretell... (10/10)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Se... (10/04)

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