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Javier Vazquez to New York… Again

Earlier this week, the Yankees made a trade with the Braves sending Melky Cabrera and prospects Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino to Atlanta for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. Of course, Vazquez already had a stint in the Bronx in 2004, and his performance was very average.

Now, the circumstances in 2004 were much different for Vazquez than they are now. He was expected to be the ace back then, and perhaps the pressures of playing in New York got to him as he posted a 14-10 record with a 4.91 ERA, and 150 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched. These numbers are all down from his 162 game average as calculated by Baseball Reference. This site has his averages at 13 wins with a 4.19 ERA, and 198 strikeouts in 213 innings pitched. This season, Vazquez arrives as the expected number four starter and is coming off a great 2009 season where he posted a career high in strikeouts and a career low ERA.

However, I do not believe Vazquez’s second stint in New York will be much better than his first, though if his numbers are around the same as in 2004, they will not be terrible for a number four starter. Obviously, Vazquez pitched in the old Yankee Stadium in 2004, but the new stadium has the same dimensions to right and left, so statistical comparisons remain viable.

In 16 Yankee Stadium starts in 2004, Vazquez posted a 6.74 ERA, allowing 17 home runs. Ten of those homers came against lefties and the short 314 foot right field wall. Last season overall, baseballs were flying out of the new stadium at a record pace so there is not much reason to expect a change in home runs allowed by Vazquez. He allowed 33 home runs overall in 2004, and has never allowed fewer than 20.

The table below illustrates Vazquez’s statistics with catchers that he has shared at least 700 plate appearances with, or the equivalent of just over one season of work:

Opponent's Stats When Vazquez Caught By:

Name
Games
Plate App
Batting Avg.
On-Base Percentage
OPS
Strikeout to Walk Ratio
Michael Barrett842290.253.296.7053.94
A.J. Pierzynski832205.252.310.7243.47
Jorge Posada28721.265.325.7812.54
Brian Schneider351022.243.289.6804.14
Chris Widger581482.275.337.7942.38

Vazquez worked mainly with Jorge Posada in 2004, and the tandem will be reunited this season. Upon investigation of the table, it is noticed that Vazquez’s second-highest career opponent’s batting average (.265) and on-base percentage (.325) came when working with Posada. Also, his second-lowest career strikeout to walk ratio (2.54) came with him.

This statistical analysis points to Vazquez having a very similar year to that of 2004, and I predict an ERA somewhere around 4.50 and around 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. Home runs will float around 30 once again. The bottom line is he will not repeat his 2009 season, yet his stats will be acceptable for a fourth starter, especially with that Yankee offense to help him out.

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About the author: George graduated with a degree in Journalism, but instead of walking at his graduation, he walked down the aisle at his wedding. He’s been playing fantasy baseball for over a decade and his interest and knowledge in the sport is as big and growing as his eyebrows are bushy…and growing. (@BaseballProf)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ryan

    what about vazquez goin 10-5 with a 3.50 ERA in the fist half of 04 before haveing a miserable injury plagued second half?

  • brian

    i kind of agree with ryan, but if you look at vazquez’s splits in 2004, he was great in april and june, but his may (5.34), july (6.61), august (7.43), and september (6.29) were terrible. being completely objective, he’s a good pitcher with great K numbers, but he’s had an ERA over 4.40 in six of 12 major league seasons, last year of course being ridiculous. from a fantasy perspective, he’ll get you W and K, and contribute a good ERA and WHIP. in K/9 leagues he has added value of course. Jeff’s prediction of “an ERA somewhere around 4.50 and around 200 innings and 200 strikeouts” probably isn’t too far off given career trends. if you don’t want jeff getting caught up in one season, you can’t go and do the same.