Braves land strong prospects in Vazquez deal
Acquired from Yanks, young arms add to Atlanta's future
The big league names in Tuesday's Yankees-Braves trade, Javy Vazquez and Melky Cabrera, dominate the headlines, but here's some scouting information on the two pitching prospects the Yankees sent to Atlanta along with Cabrera to get Vazquez and Boone Logan.
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
The Yankees have been very active in Latin America of late, particularly on the pitching side of things. Following the 2009 season, they were particularly pleased with the progress of Vizcaino, Jose Rodriguez and Manny Banuelos.
Vizcaino signed with the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic in July 2007 and made his debut in the United States a year later, in the Gulf Coast League. The 6-foot right-hander went 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA over 44 innings that summer, allowing 38 hits and just 13 walks while striking out 48. He moved up to short-season Staten Island in 2009 and was dominant against largely older hitters. At age 18, Vizcaino finished with a 2.13 ERA, allowing opponents to bat just .211 against him in 10 starts. Over his 42 1/3 innings pitched, he gave up just 34 hits and 15 walks while racking up 52 strikeouts.
Vizcaino gets hitters to swing and miss with a fastball he can crank up to 96 mph. He's got a hammer curveball, a power breaking pitch that could be a plus offering in time. Like with many young pitchers, the changeup lags behind the other offerings. It needs development, but it is emerging as a third pitch for him. He'll make his full-season debut in 2010 at age 19 and looks like a high-end rotation prospect with a ton of upside.
Michael Dunn, LHP
Before the trade, it looked like Dunn was the most likely in-house option to be the Yankees' second lefty out of the bullpen, behind Damaso Marte, in 2010. Instead, perhaps that role will fall to the newly acquired Boone Logan.
Dunn hasn't taken a typical path up to the big leagues. The Yankees drafted him in the 33rd round of the 2004 Draft as a draft-and-follow. Dunn was a two-way player at Southern Nevada Community College and wanted to hit. He signed in May 2005 as a first baseman. When he hit .178 over 152 at-bats that summer, his pitching career began (though he did get in 35 more ABs in 2006).
He spent most of 2007 and 2008 as a starter. In '07, he had a solid year for Charleston, going 12-5 with a 3.42 ERA, good for sixth in the South Atlantic League. In 2008, he made 22 starts, but also nine relief appearances as the transition began to a bullpen role. By 2009, he was a full-time reliever, posting a 3.31 combined ERA at two stops before making his big league debut.
The biggest reason for shortening Dunn up has been command. He's got great stuff that's allowed him to strike out 390 in 375 1/3 career Minor League innings (9.4 K/9). But he's also walked 166 (4.0 BB/9). The 24-year-old lefty does have a power arsenal that could work well in the back end of the bullpen if he can refine his control. He's got a big fastball that tops out at 97 mph and a nasty power slider that he throws up to 91 mph with depth and quickness.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.