Get to know a stop-gap starter - Vol. 1: Vin Mazzaro

Vin Mazzaro is famous for one outing (and what an outing it was) that occurred one year ago tomorrow. But what else do we need to know about the best Royals pitching prospect with a last name containing two z's, one r, and not named Odorizzi.

He was acquired 11/10/10 in the David Dejesus trade along with pitcher Jason Marks. In his 2 partial seasons with Oakland, he had pitched in 41 games, starting 35 of them, and went 10-17, posting a 4.72 ERA in 213 IP, with a 1.573 WHIP, and FIPs of 4.93/5.13 and xFIP of 5.03/4.55 for 2009 and 2010, respectively. At the time, he was 23 years old, and his underwhelming perihperals and performance in Oakland led one Freneau to declare:

The bottom line is this: the Royals didn't get back anything in this trade. Vin Mazzaro posted below average numbers in front of a great defense in a great pitcher's park, in the AL West. I don't mean to be indelicate but... it's almost certain that he just isn't a good pitcher. This is a losing trade. This is more evidence of our front office's bizarre ability to operate without any semblance of a plan.

The commentariat reacted with similar disgust and incredulity that DDJ could only give bring us back Mazzaro and Mark. If we had only known that Moore was soon to sign Frenchy, it would have all made sense. Hindsight is 20-20 afterall.

Since then, we've seen Vin Mazzaro appear in KC 8 times, making 4 starts and 3 relief appearance in 2011, and 1 relief appearance in 2012 where he pitched one inning and did not allow a hit, walk, run, strikeout, or an inherited runner to score. (I don't remember this outing ever happening but Vinny definitely deserve a golf clap for that).

He has spent the rest of his time in the Royal's organization in AAA, where he has posted a 8-2 record in 28 starts, with a 4.31 ERA and 3.85 FIP over 158 innings. His K/9 rate last year in AAA was not bad at 7.79, but he also walked batters at a 4.37BB/9 rate. This year, he's lowered the walk rate dramatically to 2.57BB/9 and seen a modest decrease in his K/9 rate to 6.94. His BABIP in Omaha was .340, which is high, but not very high compared to his historical BABIP of .315 in the majors, and near the same in his recent stints in the minors. Of all of those numbers, the one that excites me most is...hmm...his age, I guess.

ZiPS projects him to have a terrible 5.23 ERA in 2012 in KC, though his FIP is projected to be a respectable 4.58. So it seems that ZiPS' main concern is that it also projects him to have a very high BABIP of .325.

He's still only 25 and has 6 years of professional experience under his belt. He throws right-handed. Tonight he will pitch, and if I were a betting man, I'd bet that he comes out throwing right-handed.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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