The nominal return for dumping Eli Marrero’s contract, but probably has the inside track for the last righthanded bullpen spot. I got my Baseball Prospectus this weekend, which is a relief because I really didn’t know anything about Vasquez but the stats. They say he throws a low-nineties fastball and a good slider, and they like him.
The stats are a mixed bag, with the most important for a minor league reliever (strikeout rate) excellent. His worst strikeouts to innings pitched ratio was 70 in 73 in 2000 as a 19-year-old in the Dominican; in every other stop, he’s struck out at least a man an inning, and his career K/9 is 10.18. Last year, in AA Wichita he struck out 71 in 60, but his ERA was 4.68. He had a little jump in his hit rate, which might have just been luck, but also a jump in his walk rate, which probably wasn’t. He had a brief trial (3 1/3 innings) with the Royals last year, allowing four runs, three earned. I can’t say for sure, but he appears to be another ground-ball pitcher from his low homer numbers.
The Braves have had some good luck with these salary dump guys in the past. Johnny Estrada, obviously, but Paul Byrd once upon a time was the return for Greg McMichael when the Braves were done with the latter.