Bizarre Bazardo

In the past four years, Yorman Bazardo has played for four organizations (Florida, Seattle, Detroit and how Houston), being traded twice, designated for assignment twice and outright released once. Seems strange for a guy with a career ERA of 4.61 in Triple-A and who is just 24 years old, so what might be contributing to Bazardo’s seeming unattractiveness as a prospect?

First, because I like the hard evidence better, let us take a quick tour through his numbers. Bazardo does a good job of missing bats but has also had some issues finding the zone. His reduction in pitches outside the zone is a big reason why he is seeing the level of success this season in Triple-A for Houston that he is. Bazardo has also been a prolific groundballer, holding above the 50% mark as a starter. Based strictly on missing bats, finding the zone and keeping the ball on the ground, you would think Bazardo would rank as an above average Major League starter right now.

The problem has been turning those missed bats into strikeouts. That did not happen in 2008 and that torpedoed Bazardo’s stay with Detroit. Still, that usually corrects itself, as it has so far in 2009, so you would think that giving up on Bazardo so early still seems odd.

Here is where we get into the less clear issues. For one, there is speculation that Bazardo is not actually 24. If true, that would certainly explain teams being more willing to cut ties with him. Another issue might be his attitude, rumors of markup issues dogged him in the past. I could only speculate, and I won’t, on the severity of them if they were, in fact, present. Maybe the scouts see something that limits his ceiling. Even if all three of these were true, it still strikes me as odd that so many teams have passed him on in such inglorious fashions.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

5 Responses to “Bizarre Bazardo”

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  1. CJ says:

    If Bazardo keeps pitching like he has in Round Rock, I think he will get another chance in the majors with the Astros at some point this year. With Hampton and Paulino returning from the DL to the rotation, and Ortiz, Wandy, and Oswalt pitching well, there isn’t an immediate rotation spot open. When a spot start opens up, Bazardo could get the call. But he has to compete with Bud Norris for that opportunity. Norris throws hard, appears to be a more traditional prospect, and is tied for the PCL ERA lead (the last time I looked). But it would be interesting to see if Bazardo’s AAA success, which has been spectacular this year, translates to the majors.

    I would like to see him pitch in the majors, but I have some skepticism. Bazardo doesn’t get a lot of Ks. His groundball rate is good, but I wonder if he benefits from a very good defensive shortstop at Round Rock. Manzella the Round Rock shortstop is the best defensive infielder in the Astros system. Would Bazardo have the same success with Tejada at shortstop, considering that Tejada’s defense has not been good this year?

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  2. Eddie says:

    He’s out of options, which is why he was off of the Tigers’ 40 man after he couldn’t get anybody out last year. His FB velocity had dipped into the 80’s at Toledo last year and he was getting hit all over the park. There was no reason to try to keep him from going to minor league free agency at the end of last season.

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  3. Nick says:

    I remember watching him in the few games he pitched for Detroit last year. His stuff as about as average as you could imagine. I don’t think he’s any better than a typical 4-A organizational filler.

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  4. Eddie says:

    Adding to the earlier response… he has always been a guy whose change was his best off pitch. The 3-4 mph drop in his velocity really neutralized that pitch.

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  5. Nelson says:

    Yorman Bazardo is Venezuelan, and from all Latin American countries actually producing amateur players for MLB, Venezuela is maybe the only with reliable birth data. Unlike some Cuban (both Hernandez, Y. Escobar) and Dominican players (What’s that guy’s name? Bowden?), no Venezuelan player has ever been linked to this kind of fraud. Bazardo’s struggles surely have other sources.

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