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  1. Dave, what you are missing is that Javy is a choker. He is not a true Yankee. He did not struggle b/c his arm, which has more mileage on it than a 1977 Dodge Dart, is toast and his fastball disappeared. He struggled b/c he “can’t handle New York”. He will return to dominance in the quiet confines of an empty Land Shark Stadium, or whatever it will be called next week.

    Yankee fans on WFAN

    Comment by Steve — November 29, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  2. (I just put the following on Vazquez’s rotographs comment section, but it is also relevant here, insofar as it isn’t just his fastball):

    I wouldn’t bank on a strong rebound, and for fundamental reasons. Your eyes didn’t fail you: pitch fx shows that his slider didn’t move nearly as much … and what’s worse, that’s been a trend for a number of years now. Same goes for his fastball, and for both pitches’ velocity. Considering that he never had a crazy arsenal to begin with (excepting a very anomalous ’09, no recent year has a single pitch as having delivered a double digit run-value).

    And you are right about his FB’s velocity on the effectiveness of his changeup, so what does that leave to remain hopeful about (especially because he has never lived up to the rosier picture FIP and the like paint for him)?

    Toss in a career low BABIP accompanying his poor ’10, meaning no expectation that better luck will bail him out, and I for one am not risking a dime on him…

    Comment by William — November 29, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  3. The fact that Vaz has been a disaster in both of his Bronx stints cries out for more of an explanation than a shrug and a dismissive wank towards sports radio callers. Probably shouldn’t make fun of people when you don’t have any answers either.

    Comment by bflaff — November 29, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

  4. This piece doesn’t look at the whole picture. While Vazquez’s velocity may never come back, his control might, and if it does, he’s a highly serviceable pitcher for $7M.

    Comment by philosofool — November 29, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  5. Without knowing the cause of the velocity drop, its pretty impossible to say whether or not he’ll bounce back in 2011.

    A good off-season conditioning program might be all he requires for example.

    Comment by NEPP — November 29, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  6. Small sample size? Coincidence?

    ” “To every complex problem, there is an answer that is simple, easy to understand and wrong.” –H. L. Mencken

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — November 29, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

  7. Who said I don’t have answers?

    The “answer” for 2010 is right in Dave’s article.

    As far as 2004 goes, I would also blame injury. He said it himself that his shoulder was hurting down the stretch that year.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    Comment by Steve — November 29, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

  8. “Probably” was the operative word. We can’t know for sure, but looking at the data leads us to make a prediction

    Comment by Zach — November 29, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  9. You seem a bit defensive. Vazquez struggled in New York his first time around, but was still an average pitcher according to WAR. This time around he was around replacement level. They really aren’t the same type of situation.

    Your logic that we cannot comment or condemn an explanation if we cannot come up with one of our own is ridiculous. I don’t need to know the correct cause of a situation to recognize an incorrect one.

    Comment by Piccamo — November 29, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  10. From ’07 to ’10, his FB and SL velocity fell from 92.5 mph to 91.9, 91.2, 89.0 and 84.8 to 84.6, 83.2, and 83.0 respectively. The former has lost .3, .4, and .8 inches of horizontal movement over those years (1.5 inches overall), while his slider has lost .3, 1.3, and .4 (2 inches overall).

    That’s three years of decline, not just one, so I don’t think working out more should be imagined to reverse such an established downward trend.

    Comment by William — November 29, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  11. The interleague games that Vasquez pitched for the Yankees were among his only good starts. He’ll be more effective in the National League.

    Comment by BRIAN — November 29, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  12. Insofar as he’s leaving the tougher league in which to pitch, sure. That isn’t to say he’ll be a $7M pitcher next year, or even a useful one. Might as well declare that he’ll get more hits next year, too.

    Comment by Joe P. — November 29, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  13. Dave,

    Steve has pointed out the issue here. Javier Vazquez is not a true yankee. That is the reason not to hope for his fastball coming back. The gods do not favor those who are not true Yankees. If you had just pointed this out you would not have had to go through the hassle of writing an informative, well-reasoned article. Thank you anyhow. Steve and I both appreciate it deeply.

    Comment by Mat — November 29, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  14. I decided to look at how well the 10 pitchers with the big velo drops from last year did in comparison to their PECOTA projection.

    I looked at the IP and eqERA in the players PECOTA cards and then I looked at their actual 2010 IP and then their SIERA.

    On average the pitchers were expected to pitcher 153.7 innings with an average eqERA of 4.323 when in actuality they pitched 141 innings with an average SIERA of 4.405.

    The difference becomes even bigger when you consider that the average pitcher in 2010 probably beat their projections by a good margin because of the drop off in scoring this past year.

    Also given that Vazquez is old compared to this group and the velo dropoff is larger I expect him to under perform his 2011 projections quite a bit, but given that most sabermetric projections will probably label him an absolute steal at 1/7, the signing will probably still have a good chance of working out well.

    I know my process for finding this info isn’t perfect, but I was just trying get it done quickly while doing a decent job with it.

    Comment by Silencio — November 29, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

  15. OK, thanks guys. We’ll just close the book on Vazquez, now that we got it all figured out.

    One might argue that fangraphs is just a different kind of sports radio.

    Comment by bflaff — November 29, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  16. Highly serviceable, yes, but Vazquez’s contract eats up pretty much the entire savings from the Uggla deal (Uggla’s presumed $10 million minus Infante’s $2.5 million and Mike Dunn’s league minimum). So they’d better be right, because they pretty much traded Uggla for Vazquez and Infante.

    Comment by Alex Remington — November 29, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  17. I love it how when people can’t explain something, they’ll resort to intangibles. Instead of not being “clutch” (I’m not referring specifically to Vazquez), the player may simply not be good. Its not just in baseball, I hear it in all sports. Maybe the best players are also the most “clutch”, eh?

    Comment by guest — November 29, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  18. VGHFCG

    Comment by srdtesr — November 29, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  19. You guys do realize he was being facetious, don’t you?

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — November 29, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  20. I am afraid that your data does not bode well for Tim Lincecum. If his velocity continues to fall, he will soon be the righty Zito.

    Comment by Bradley Emden — November 29, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

  21. If I’m not mistaken, Uggla’s set to make $12M in 2011.

    Your point still holds, though:

    Marlins lose: Dan Uggla, $12M
    Marlins gain: Omar Infante $2.5M, Javier Vazquez $7M, John Buck $6M

    I don’t know any way to spin this as a win for the Marlins. What a terrible, terrible offseason. I don’t think trading Uggla was the wrong move, but they could/should have gotten at least 2 top prospects considering Uggla’s guaranteed Type-A status going into next year’s free agency. Giving that up only makes sense as a cost-cutting measure (if that), so when you waste the savings on Vazquez and Buck with your talent return netting you Dunn and Infante … well, it’s highly questionable.

    Comment by enemyoftheworld — November 29, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

  22. Interesting research. It’s worth nothing that Mike Fast found about a .5 ERA drop when losing 2 MPH of velocity, so it you had Vazquez projected at a 3.50 ERA before last year, he could still be a 4.00 ERA pitcher even with the lost velocity. Then again, velocity wasn’t the only problem last year – his control was terrible and his other pitchers weren’t as good – so his projection is going to be much higher even before factoring in the velocity.

    He’s probably a league average pitcher going forward, so this might not be a terrible deal.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — November 29, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

  23. In sports radio it’s the broadcasters who are the assholes, while on FG it’s the readers, but yes, they’re somewhat similar.

    Comment by Carligula — November 29, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  24. Watching Javy pitch several times last year, I thought he was dealing with a lower back injury, just based on the way he seemed to be finishing his delivery. It might explain both his lost velocity AND his command.

    Comment by Dan Greer — November 29, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  25. Velocity or not, he only gave up one earned in 13 IP vs. the Mets last year. More of the same this year.

    Comment by simply fred — November 29, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  26. But that is the Mets. Does that count towards MLB stats?

    Comment by cavebird — November 29, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

  27. Piccamo: Javy Vazquez is proof of why pitcher’s WAR (specifically FIP, xXIP) has serious conceptual problems.

    Comment by delv — November 30, 2010 @ 1:17 am

  28. You’re not from around here, are you?

    Comment by philosofool — November 30, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

  29. Whether the combined moves make sense is a different question from whether this move makes sense all by itself. Those other moves are sunk costs. I don’t get the Buck move, and I think they should have gotten more for Uggla or kept him. But I think projecting Vazquez to be a 2 WAR pitcher next season is perfectly reasonable, and that makes $7m a good value.

    Comment by philosofool — November 30, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  30. I’m not too sure about that. 2010 was the first season Lincecum featured a 2 seamer, and I’m not sure how well they are separated from a regular 4 seam fastball in the PitchFx.

    He did pick up a velocity on his breaking pitches in 2010. While I don’t think he’s going to average 94 again, it doesn’t look as bad as the 94.0-92.4-91.3 would lead you to believe.

    Comment by microwave donut — November 30, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

  31. You’re absolutely right that the move needs to be evaluated on it’s own. “Uggla for Infante, Dunn, Buck and Vazquez” is a silly way to evaluate a trade or a free agency acquisition.

    That said, I was speaking to their offseason approach. They’re moving Uggla and his Type-A compensation in order to save $12M, but they’re willing to spending $13M on Buck and Vazquez combined? (And Buck is stuck here for another 2 years!) The moves themselves should be evaluated separately, but the architecture and philosophical motivations just don’t seem to add up for me. The Uggla trade *only* makes sense as a cost-cutting measure, but if you’re cutting costs to sign rehab projects like Vazquez or sinking longterm dollars into John Buck it just becomes a waste.

    Ultimately, the Marlins would have been better off spending that $12M on Uggla and getting the compensation at the end of the year. It was a circumstantial evaluation of two possibilites for the Marlins in the way they spend their 2011 dollars. So far, I don’t think they are being very wise.

    Comment by enemyoftheworld — December 1, 2010 @ 1:07 am

  32. Funny.

    Comment by tonyfranz31 — December 1, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  33. Good insights. Thanks.

    Comment by tonyfranz31 — December 1, 2010 @ 10:05 am

  34. I’m guessing he will bounce back. He won’t be striking out 230 guys and have an ERA below 3.50, but he’ll easily give up less homeruns and get about 15 wins. His ERA won’t be a disaster again, but it might be anywhere from 3.80 to 4. So for 7 million he’s a bargain, but Uggla was far too valuable. There’s no way that they’ll be able to explain the money they saved when they compare the players they spent that money on.

    His control should be great, because Florida is low on pressure. It’s not New York… just deduct his years there, and his career numbers aren’t nearly as bad.

    Comment by Kyle — December 2, 2010 @ 4:50 am

  35. To play Mr. Curve Fitter….if we remove games against some AL names (BOS, TOR, TB, CWS, TEX, LAA), Javy went 7-5 with a 3.25 era and 1.15 whip (and 2.4 K/BB). And this was amidst a dog with fleas year. Give him the NL (and obvious change in scenery), some recoup time, and some luck/magic/prayer….don’t be surprised to see a <4 era year even with the velocity drop.

    Comment by bballer319 — January 17, 2011 @ 9:37 am

  36. I know he was younger in ’04 but Vazquez saw a 1+MPH drop off on the fast ball when he went to the Bronx, only to see that 1MPH fully regained the next year in a different uniform. Something worth noting.

    Comment by Ben — March 24, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  37. Anybody know what his velocity has been this spring?

    Comment by Frank — March 25, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

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    Comment by SLT-A65 — November 16, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  39. It totally bounced back, man!

    Comment by iluv2partynaked — November 16, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

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