Former Mud Hen Virgil Vasquez Throws Hat in Rotation Mix?


The Rumbunter team is concerned.  We had the worst pitching staff in the National League last year.  They can only get better.  The only question is when?  I am not blessed with virtue of patience.  I don’t know many people who are.  Especially us Pirate fans.

So we have some work to do.  Thus far, it certainly seems we have made progress.  My next question is who will the starters be in 20 odd days for our Pirates?  And who the hell is Virgil Vasquez

Well, he actually was thought to be a talented pitcher in the Detroit Tiger organization just two years ago.  Then months later he was playing for the Mud Hens and just like that Theo and the Red Sox grabbed him.  Just as suddenly the Padres grabbed him.  Now after being grabbed (insert your “grabbed more than a…..” joke here) all off season he has landed with the Pirates.

I am still not sure what happened.  Is he just another career minor league talent with one more shot?  Cue the music Eminem.

Vasquez is certainly interesting.  He has posted some numbers.  Big strikeout numbers dominate his stats.  He had one over his three innings yesterday versus the Twins.  His spring numbers for the Pirates are 5IP, 3.60ERA, 3K, 2BB. Rather unassuming, you say?  Compare them to some of the other candidates for a job in our rotation.

This kid had some potential in his day.  He was named to the MLN Fab50 in 2007.  Who are they?  The same guys that predicted Evan Langoria of the Montgomery Biscuits as their top prospect.  I believe he still has it.  It just needs a tweak or two.

Vasquez was a member of the Tigers 40 man roster in 2008, the 6’3″ 26-year-old righty was never used.  Having gone 16.2 innings with an 8.64 ERA for the Tigers in 2007, Detroit called upon the likes of Armando Galarraga, Eddie Bonine, and Chris Lambert to fill holes for injured starters.

Vasquez spent the entire 2008 season with Toledo, the Detroit Tiger’s AAA club, and went 12-12 with a 4.81 ERA, 115 strikeouts and 37 walks in 27 starts. The 26-year-old California native also tossed two complete games and shared the International League lead with two shutouts.

He also yielded 27 homers, and an opponents batting average of .283. Maybe that was what happened.

From the Mud Hen game recaps I reviewed, it seemed to be an eight strikeout night or a six earned runs in five inning night.  For the majority of his starts, a middle ground didn’t exist.  Maybe that was it.

In an overview of his career, Vasquez was originally selected by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, he made his Major League debut with the Tigers in 2007.  He made five appearances (three starts) with Detroit that season.

In his six minor league seasons (2003-08), Vasquez has posted a 54-48 record, a 4.25 ERA, 610 strikeouts and 185 walks in 140 starts.

Perhaps over the next few weeks, Vasquez proves that this year will be his last year in the minors. I am sure he has had enough of the bus trips.

At last glance, the starting rotation for the Pirates is far from final.  Oh…I know it is early everyone says.  Yeh, we have three weeks to figure out who the five pitchers are that are going to end this embarassing streak.

Yeh, all kinds of time they say.  HUH?

The starting rotation is up in the air.

I would think someone would want to grab a spot in the rotation.  As recently as yesterday it doesn’t seem as though Tom Gorzelany has helped his cause.  So who is left?

Who knows, maybe yesterday was Virgil Vasquez’s first step toward being one of those five Pirates pitchers that end this madness?