Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Electric FB-CB combination that may profile best in a late inning relief role.
The Player: Arodys Vizcaino (RHP, Atlanta Braves) – Vizcaino was signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 before being dealt to the Braves in exchange for RHP Javier Vazquez. He started the year at High-A Lynchburg and finished the year pitching out of the Atlanta bullpen. In the minor leagues he posted a 3.06 ERA, 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings, and a 3.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 97 innings across three levels. With Atlanta he managed to strikeout a batter per inning but struggled with command, walking nine hitters and finished with a 4.67 ERA in 17 games.
Body: Shorter right-hander standing only 6-feet tall, broad shoulders with strength in legs and core
Makeup: Aggressive mentality with a short memory and a strong work ethic that should allow him to fulfill much of his promise.
Delivery/Mechanics: Slight drop on back leg in delivery, allows for good drive and use of his lower half. Drops arm straight down the back side, gets it into throwing position quickly and consistently, lightning fast arm speed helps generate velocity. Consistently follows through without falling off mound.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 97, Low – 91, Average – 93-95, Grade – 60/70
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 97, Low 90, Average 92-95, Grade – 60/70
Fastball (FB) Movement: The ball explodes out of his hand, getting on hitters quickly and leaving them behind it regularly. Can flatten out when he leaves it up. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Grade – 60/70
Curveball (CB): True swing-and-miss pitch with late depth and consistent hard bite. He can throw it too much at times. Grade – 60/70
Change-up (CH): Has made strides but the pitch still lacks consistency and command. Shows some sink but could use more movement. Grade – 40/40
Control: Strike throwing machine when he stays within himself. Can get out of the zone when he overthrows. Throws strikes with all three pitches and works ahead in the count regularly. Grade – 60/60
Command: Still refining his ability to locate the ball. Repeats delivery well enough to command fastball and curveball very well with more experience. Grade – 30/50
Summation: Elite fastball and curveball will allow him to succeed as a #3 starter or a late inning reliever. If change-up and command develop he could top out as a good #2 starter in a championship rotation. I believe his aggressive mentality on the mound and two future 70-grade pitches will allow him to be such a dominating success in high leverage situations that he will end up there long term.
Relative Risk: High. Vizcaino set a career high in innings in 2011 with just 114.1. There are still significant concerns about his durability going forward.
Future: Vizcaino will enter spring training with a chance to earn a spot on the Braves’ Opening Day roster. The rotation remains in flux with the Braves open to trading Jair Jurrjens after already dealing Derek Lowe, and that flux could leave a spot open for Vizcaino. If he does not fit in the immediate rotation picture, he will be an excellent piece to help take pressure of Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel at the back end of games.