As if last year’s Javier Vazquez trade wasn’t bad enough for the Yankees, now comes word that Arodys Vizcaino, the young right hander sent to Atlanta in the deal, has been throwing lights out in spring training. In fact, in his last outing on March 9, Braves’ GM Fran Wren confirmed that at least two radar guns had the 20-year old Dominican right hander topping out at 101 mph. In an earlier spring outing, Vizcaino sat comfortably at 94-97 mph, so, needless to say, it appears as if he has fully recovered from the partial elbow tear that ended his 2010 minor league season.
Vizcaino, who was considered a top prospect before his elbow injury, was among the Braves first spring cuts yesterday. Also assigned to the Braves’ minor league camp were Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Brett Oberholtzer, three more highly touted pitching prospects that provide Atlanta with enviable depth to complement its talented major league roster.
In many ways, the Braves farm system is like the Yankees. Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances have all attracted a lot of attention in Tampa this spring, but you can’t blame Brian Cashman if part of his focus remains with Vizcaino. As the old saying goes, you can never have too much pitching, a philosophy that also applies to prospects.
When the Yankees made the trade for Vazquez, many people focused on the departure of Melky Cabrera, but those more familiar with Vizcaino correctly identified him as the centerpiece of the deal. After all, it’s not like he was flying under the radar. Baseball America listed Vizcaino as the Yankees’ third best prospect, so Cashman had to know what he was giving up when he made the trade.
Unfortunately, Vazquez had an absolutely miserable season in his return to New York. Despite his historically poor performance, however, two things prevented the deal from feeling like an absolute bust. One was the solid 40 innings of relief from Boone Logan, who was also acquired in the trade, and the other an elbow injury sustained by Vizcaino during the summer. Although no one would really wish ill health upon a player to mollify the fallout from a bad trade, the fact remains that with the young right hander’s elbow fully recovered, the chances of the deal coming back to haunt the Yankees have increased considerably.
For all we know, Arodys Vizcaino could wind up being a minor league washout. What’s more, the supplemental draft pick the Yankees received when Vazquez left via free agency could yield a future Hall of Famer. In the meantime, however, hearing about Vizcaino’s impressive resurgence will likely grate on Brian Cashman, not to mention the team’s many fans who have made prospect watching a new pastime.