Oscar Villarreal

If I had to lay a bet, I’d say that he will open the season as the closer. Now, the odds are probably 4:1 against that, but there are so many candidates. In fact, place your bets on “The Field”.

Anyway, Villarreal is a member of that large and ever-growing fraternity, the talented pitcher with injury problems. Brought up at probably 21 (he’s from Mexico, as far as I know his listed age is correct) he pitched superbly for the D-Backs in 2003, going 10-7 with a 2.57 ERA (in a hitter’s park) over 98 innings, all but one in relief. He made 82 appearances, second in the league, and in a normal year might have gotten some Rookie of the Year consideration. (A normal year being one without Dontrelle Willis, Brandon Webb, Miguel Cabrera, Brad Lidge, etc.) In May of 2004 he went down with what was reported as “strained tendons in his right forearm” but which turned out to be a rotator cuff strain, no surprise after getting worked that hard.

Villarreal was back in service in 2005 but pitched little for the major league club. He pitched in the first two games of the season, then was sent down until September. His overall Major League ERA was 5.27. He was probably lucky to do that well; he struck out only five and walked six in 13 2/3 IP. In the minors he was mostly used as a starter, and put up a 5.19 ERA. That’s bad, but could be worse, considering it was Tucson and the PCL. I’m pretty sure he was hurt last year as in 2004. If he’s healthy, he’s good, but it’s been so long since he was healthy that you can’t rely upon it.

Oscar Villarreal Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

87 thoughts on “Oscar Villarreal”

  1. Good summary Mac. The good news is that during 2003 & 2004 he struck out a batter an inning which is good, closer material. Unfortunately I have some questions about his control. He consistently walks 1 batter every 2 innings which he needs to improve to be a serious contender for the closer spot.

    I can just see it: Foster comes in and walks three, Villarreal in and .. hey ho … another walk! Better than been hit out of the park I suppose.

  2. I’ve got to think he’s going to start the year in AAA. The guy has basically been out for two years. I think it would be good have him pitch his way onto the team than trying to avoid being pitched off.

  3. I think he’ll be fine, but he’s still recovering from the abuse the D-backs heaped upon him a few years ago. Given time, he should be a good one.

  4. Offhand, I can think of Andruw and Pete Orr as the only definites. Jorge Sosa will probably make the Dominican team. Chipper probably has a shot at making the US team. Other than that? I’m not sure.

  5. Oh, I think Francoeur was on the initial US roster, but I would be shocked if he ended up playing.

  6. David O’Brien at AJC thinks we are going to trade Thomson for a closer, a lefty, or an outfielder.It seems they really want to start Davies.

  7. It would be really nice to break up the rotation with a lefty. I also think the Davies will be similar to Thomson as far as performance goes, and of course Davies has more upside.

  8. I wonder what it would take to get David Wells. I think he would be a good #3-4 guy in our rotation.

  9. Just think if Boston would have traded Wells to us for Langerhans and Betemit. They would be in much better shape. Langerhans has to be better defensively than Crisp, and Betemit could be a pretty darn good insurance policy if/when Gonzalez or Lowell stink…

  10. Theoretically, they still could make that trade. To my knowledge, they don’t have a 4th OF right now, and Betemit would be great insurance on both of the left infield spots.

    One could argue that they both deserve starting spots, but they’d both play quite a bit. I also like Wells, but think we could get slightly more for those two–and you have to think Boston is done trading prospects.

  11. But Rob, that leaves us with the problem that probably lead to our trade for Renteria: we’d have NO ONE to back up 3B or SS, and lets face it, we need to have a good backup behind Chipper. If there were bodies at AAA who could do the job then fine, move Betemit, but there just aren’t.

    Also, while Langy is probably better defensively than Crisp, it’s hard to make the arguement that he’d be a better leadoff hitter. ;-)

  12. David Wells was incredibly inconsistent last year. Personally I think he sucks and turning 43 won’t help. I would never trade young players to get a guy like that.

  13. Wells is one of the best big game pitchers of our life time. I would rather have him going out there than Thomson for a big game 3 or 4.

  14. Well today is the first day of “Don’t call it Camp Roger.” BASEBALL IS COMMING SOON!!!!!!!!!!

  15. If the Braves are going after a LH SP, lets not waste our time discussing Wells. Between the gout and the gimp, he’s pretty much done for. Chuck James is a LH SP, he costs us nothing, and from all accounts he has the testicular fortitude needed for a big game pitcher.

  16. I am all for giving Chuck James a chance and trading Horacio’s worthless ass to some blind fools ( Dodgers, Pirates, Reds ), but I doubt it happens.
    I don’t understand the hate for thomson. He was signed for a bargain rate, he took a while to get going but had an awesome second half, and then was pitching very well till his freak injury. And in his final start and the playoffss, looked real good again. I expect a stellar season from him, being a contract year and all.

  17. Hudson backed out. Wells wants to go west and I wouldn’t trade Thomson for him anyway — that’s a lateral move at best. Betemit should be untouchable at this point — I’d hate to see the Pete Orr Experience when Chipper goes down.

    Villareal’s health is the most interesting story of the spring as far as I’m concerned. All the starters are knowns to a greater or lesser degree, but if Villareal’s arm isn’t completely slagged, he’s the steal of the winter.

  18. Won’t be a steal. We gave up a serviceable switch hitting catcher for him. His arm better not be slagged for us to break even.

  19. I think Thomson would best benefit us by being in Atlanta – not only by pitching well, but by being a another veteran in the rotation. Take him out and besides the top 2, it’s HoRam, Sosa, and Davies, (or James as mentioned above) – potentially good pitchers all, but each currently carry question marks (if only for being young in the cases of Davies and James).

    Maybe we could trade Thomson for good value b/c of his low contract, but I think a pitcher of his caliber and price needs to be hung onto.

    To echo Tanto, a lot of the young guys in the bullpen excite me, but especially Villarreal. Just pray that his arm’s healthy – What was Brenly thinking? He and Dusty Baker could get together and talk pitching management.

  20. It would be the height of insanity to go for soemone like Wells and give up two young solid players for him. You have to look to the future not the past.

    I said this a few weeks ago on the site’s forums that my gut feeling is that Oscar V will be the closer although I have no doubt in my mind that anyone would just be a holding action until Joey Devine is anointed.

  21. Estrada was gone no matter what. The Braves didn’t need him and they weren’t going to pay $2 million for a guy they didn’t need. It was a good deal if only one of these guys turns out okay. If Villarreal pitches like he did in 2003 it’s a steal.

  22. they could sign him for $2 mil, which would still make him a very good bargaining chip. Heck, the Padres might have parted with Otsuka for a good hitting catcher that cheap. Estrada had no value for us, but that doesn’t mean his value to other teams was diminished, and since there was competition, his asking price didn’t have to be low necessarily.
    The whole Millwood-Estrada-Villareal saga is kinda unbelievable. who knows what the associated pressures were..

  23. Trading Ryan Langerhans and Wilson Betemit for David Wells would cause me commit acts of vandalism. That would be just a horrible, horrible trade for us.

  24. David Wells is an f’ing toad. Do you really think that he would fit in with Bobby’s clubhouse and be healthy enough to get 25+ starts.

  25. Yeah … not sure I’d even have wanted Wells 10 years ago. His numbers have never been consistently that great!!

  26. Man, thank God you guys aren’t the GM. Wells?????? Isn’t he like 80 now, didn’t he PULL HIMSELF OUT OF A WORLD SERIES GAME because he can’t stop eating and hurt his back, yeah that’s the big game pitcher I want. 10 years ago ok but now?? Sheesh.

  27. Having Wells on my fantasy team last year was bad enough.

    We need some real news to talk about. (Or at least something besides David Wells.)

  28. Alright, here’s some news: King Kong was not nominated for Best Picture. Come on, people! Of course it was too long, and the scene where he took on those three Tyrannosaurs was ridiculous, and he was more weepy-eyed than Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby, but still. It was the most entertaining movie of the year! Naomi Watts lit up the screen in every scene!

    How can the MOST ENTERTAINING MOVIE OF THE YEAR not be nominated for Best Picture? What do you think Best Picture means? This is like nominating Mike Deveraux for the Hall of Fame–a useful player, a guy who won some hardware, but not a superstar–and leaving Greg Maddux off the ballot.

    Who’s with me?

  29. I’m with you. The Oscars aren’t based on actual merit. Just a forum for Hollywood political statements.

  30. I see Stu typing a comment, I’m a bit to far away to read it, but I either agree or disagree with whatever he said.

  31. Trade of the day!
    Mitch Mustain was inking his name to play at Arkansas on ESPN U today nad he said he heard from Houston Nutt the following trade with ATL, SF, BAL and LAA (It being singing day and all and most of us in SEC country, had to throw it in):

    ATL: Gets Noah Lowry
    SF: gets Javy Lopez, and HoRam
    LAA: gets Mike Matheny and Brian Pena
    BAL: gets John Thomson, and Dallas McPherson

  32. Awards shows suck. There’s too many and they’re stupid anyway. I at least used to watch the 2 MTV awards shows and the ESPYs, but then I realized the ESPYs are stupid, and I don’t really watch the MTV ones anymore either.

  33. As long as we’re talking trade rumors, here’s one:

    Mets get: Jose Vidro, Jay Bergman, PTBNL, cash
    Natpos get: Matt Clement, Alex Cora
    Red Sox get: Lastings Milledge, Xavier Nady

    Before you tell me I’m crazy like Smitty ;-), this one is real. I’ve heard that it’s in the final stages and is being held up by Boston. I have no idea why. They seem to be making out like bank robbers.

    Remember, people, no matter how bleak things look, we are still in a division with Omar Minaya and Jim Bowden! There is always hope!

  34. And by “real,” I mean “I am not pulling it out of my ass for yuks.” It’s been on the radio.

  35. AAR
    Someone Andruw will take yard in the 5th inninf of a September baseball game becuase he will have to come in to pitch after Zambrano gets rocked for the 20th time!

  36. I wonder if the Mets are going to make runs at Sammy Sosa, Raffy Palmiero, Roberto Clemmente, or Luis Tiant

  37. Braves probably in the WBC are Chipper (USA), Pete Orr, Scott Thorman, Chris Reitsma (Canada), Andruw (Netherlands), Jorge Sosa (DR).

    In February’s ChopTalk edition, John Schuerholz says, “I think Brian (Jordan) is going to surprise alot of people. He played virtually on one leg last year. Now he has two legs.”

    Is he just saying that as a nice gesture to a veteran who has helped us out in the past, or is he serious? I appreciate what Jordan did in ’99, but I don’t want him on the opening day roster in ’06.

  38. LaRoche had the worst UZR also of all NL 1B men..
    some godawful negative number like -27.

    by the way, jenny’s rumour isn’t on rotoworld yet, so I will take it with a grain of salt :)

  39. by the way, jenny’s rumour isn’t on rotoworld yet, so I will take it with a grain of salt :)

    Oh, definitely. The whole thing seems very sketchy to me. There’s something wrong with it, but I am too brain-dead to figure out what exactly it is, so I just won’t. I’m just passing it along, since it involves 2 teams in our division.

  40. I can’t believe the Mets are about to trade Milledge for for Vidro and some change. And when I say I can’t believe it, I mean I literally don’t believe it. The Mets would’t trade Milledge for Ramirez so why would they trade him for Vidro. I know Ramirez makes a lot of money but when has that stopped New York. I just don’t see it at all.

  41. That was uncalled for, Justin.

    I would never put any sort of short-sighted trade past the Mets, but that’s spectacularly unbalanced, so I don’t believe it either.

  42. Justin, if we could get Krispy Kremes instead of Dunkin Donuts, that would be a steal!

  43. You never know. It depends how good that Bergman guy is (I think he’s a prospect out of UCF?) and how much money the Mets would get. Sure, they’re rcher than us, but that doesn’t mean their pockets are endlessly deep. Still, it’s probably more likely that the prospect from the Mets is one of their pitchers. Don’t they still have Petit to trade?

  44. Didn’t the Mets have troulbe trading Millidge for M Ramierez…I don’t see them going just for Vidro for that unless something is wrong with him.
    And I don’t see the Braves ever, ever trading for Wells. He too many off the field issues and I could just see Wells trying insult Bobby or Smoltz after a month of being there.

  45. Not sure if he is one and the same, but Jay Bergman is the Baseball Coach at UCF – been there forever. The Golden Knights have been playing their homegames at Jay Bergman Field for about 3 or 4 seasons now….

  46. Well, Kyle, if Stu and I (and Dix on occassion) aren’t in here posting we’d have to be paying attention to class. I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. Hah.

    Mmm I guess I should make this post baseball related? Here we go: Wells sucks. Thomson’s better right now. Oh, and the only move the Mets could make that’d make me worried is adding a #1 pitcher or two. (Besides Pedro)

  47. Well, I am not intented to say anything negative about Leo. Since he has left, I wish him all the best. However, it is interesting to read some of the comments from Hudson and Thomson on mlb.com:

    “He’s a real personable guy,” Hudson said. “It seems like he’s going to be able to go out there and get along with everybody great. Obviously he has the reputation of being an easygoing guy, cutting up a little bit and having some fun. … It will be a lot of fun going down to the bullpen and getting some work done for a change.”

    While not directly taking a shot at Mazzone with his comment, Hudson seemed to express the same nonchalance that all of the Braves pitchers were expressing in regards to moving on without their former pitching coach.

    Hudson and Thomson were among those who said it will be beneficial having a pitching coach who has actually pitched in the Majors. Mazzone’s pitching career ended in the Minors.

    “That’s going to be the biggest difference, actually having a pitch coach who has pitched in the big leagues,” Thomson said.

  48. Well, with Dayton Moore (apparently) all but promised the top job when Scheurholz retires, Wren would have to look elsewhere. And maybe the new Reds owners will actually spend some money.

  49. Frank Wren will be at the Rome hot stove league thingy this coming Monday….if he isn’t gone by then, I’ll ask him about it!
    Marcus Giles, Saltalamacchia, and Dayton Moore will be there as well. I can’t wait! My daughter is coming with me…she’s got a build-a-bear with a Braves uniform on it that she wants to get signed. Again, I can’t wait!

  50. Hmm… so Adam LaRoche offers terrible defense as the upside to his appalling offensive production.

    Maybe we could trade him to Isaiah Thomas?

  51. Mac, does Alex ever check on us, or ask about us? I could use one of his great rants right now. (borring time at college)

  52. “And just to repeat, once again: y’all need to stop picking on Jenny”

    I do agree with TN Brave though. I’d trade anyone for a box of Krispy Kremes. That should be considered an honor really. Like being sacraficed to the gods…or at least being fed to the minotaur to save your city from destruction..

  53. Is there any way I can travel back in time and retroactively change my Road from Bristol vote to Dick Vitale? I watched the Duke game tonight, and wow. Just wow. That voice…constantly touching other announcers…the JJ Redick man-love…the insipid commentary…I’ve entered a whole new world here! I can’t believe I didn’t find it until now. And I LIKE Duke!

    Also, shocking announcement: I’ve never eaten a Krispy Kreme.

  54. I actually like Vitale. I like his voice and all his little phrases, and he’s passionate about the game. I hate Duke, so I don’t really care for his Redick man-love, but I’ll live. Having said that, I can see how some people can’t stand him.

    And please Jenny, have a Krispy Kreme donut. I have some coupons for free ones if you need it. I live a few hundred yards from one and can sometimes smell when they’re making fresh ones….mmmmmm boy, puts me in a good mood.

  55. Mike Patrick was even worse than JJ as far as displaying his no-so-hidden not-so-nonsexual mancrush on JJ. It was disgusting. And as for that last play i dont know why the kid was going for a layup but that was a CLEAR foul on Shelden.

    Also, fresh KKs are heavenly but even the nonfresh ones that they ship to grocery stores and gas startions are pretty darn good.

  56. I don’t post much but I read just about everything here and I wish Alex R. would come back into the fold. More often then not I agreed with him and cursing does not offend me a bit, in fact I encourage it. No vote on KK’s and Vitale for the same reason, sincere but too cloying for my taste.

  57. THe best is when you can get a KK fresh and still warm and then pund it down with some Mayfield Milk. Best thing ever!

  58. That is good news about Hudson, I don’t want him pitching in meaningless games.

    A few weeks ago when Smoltz was still in the WBC, my girlfriend said, “Hey I saw that Smoltz was playing in that World Classic thing, I hope he doesn’t get hurt.” That was the first time it I thought about it and I almost puked.

  59. Damn, all this donut talk has me about to leave my office to go to the Dunkin’ Donuts around the corner.

  60. The Krispy Kremes that are packaged up and sent to the grocery stores are pretty darn good ONLY until you have had a fresh, hot one when the “hot light” is on. After you eat one of those, and it literally melts in your mouth, you will never buy one from the grocery store again.

  61. Carnac the Magnificent: Rafael Palmeiro, Carlos Delgado, Jason Giambi, and Olmedo Saenz

    Question: Who were the only MLB first basemen worse at fielding grounders than Adam LaRoche last year?

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