Yankees may have something special in young starting pitcher

mlb: new york yankees at atlanta braves, randy vasquez
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Yankees grapple with a rapid descent in the standings, the spotlight turns to their up-and-coming talents, potentially laying the foundation for the team’s 2024 season and beyond. Everson Pereira is just one name tipped for promotion, offering the Yankees insights into his potential as a future cornerstone.

Young Arms Stepping Up For the Yankees

Amidst the turbulence caused by injuries and inconsistencies in the starting rotation, emerging talents like Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez are stepping up to the plate.

Brito is gradually carving out his reputation, hinting at his potential as a future starter. Yet, it’s Vasquez who has been slightly generating a bit more positive reviews.

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In just 22.1 innings pitched this year, Vasquez boasts a 2.42 ERA, 6.04 strikeouts per nine innings, a commendable 92.4% left-on-base rate, and a 35.4% ground ball rate. Despite some concerns with his walk rate, he’s been adept at keeping the ball in the yard.

In a noteworthy matchup, Vasquez was handed the daunting task of facing the Atlanta Braves, one of baseball’s most formidable offenses. Over 3.1 innings, he restricted the Braves to two hits and two earned runs, even managing to strike out power hitters like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson.

Reflecting on the challenge, Vasquez commented post-game, “Definitely a big learning experience. Facing a lineup like the one they have, full of talent, it adds on to the career I’m trying to build. Every time I get an opportunity to pitch at this level, it allows me to keep growing as a pitcher.”

Since his debut against the Miami Marlins on August 11, Vasquez has allowed four earned runs over seven innings. These matchups against top-tier offenses serve as invaluable learning experiences for the young pitcher.

Vasquez’s Pitching Arsenal

A peek into Vasquez’s toolkit reveals an impressive array: a four-seam fastball, cutter, sinker, changeup, sweeper, and curveball. The four-seam, cutter, and sinker are his primary weapons. His four-seam fastball stands out with opponents hitting a mere .118 against it, complemented by a 14.6% whiff rate and a 6.9% put-away rate.

While his cutter has occasionally been exploited (.273 batting average against), his sinker has been a revelation this season. It’s thrown 18.2% of the time and holds a .133 batting average against with a 22.2% put-away rate. The curveball, although used sparingly (9.6%), stands out with a staggering 71% more horizontal movement than the average pitcher, amounting to 15.3 inches of break.

A Bright Future Ahead

At just 24, Vasquez embodies promise. The upcoming weeks, filled with on-field action, will undoubtedly fine-tune his skills, preparing him for a potential long-term role in the Yankees’ rotation. As signs of potential become more evident, the Yankees’ leadership would do well to give him the platform he needs to flourish.