Pittsburgh Pirates Countdown to Spring Training: Vin Mazzaro…Really?


1.  His full name is Vincent Michael Mazzaro

2.  Vin Mazzaro Needs A Fan Club President.

3.  Vin Mazzaro holds a Kansas City Royals record.  You Don’t.

4.  Of course, you have never pitched in the bigs. But if you did, it’s doubtful you could match what Mazzaro did in his most infamous outing. The 6’2″ native of Hackensack gave up fourteen runs. That’s hard to do. The fact that it only took 2.1 innings before someone bothered to wake up his manager, Ned Yost is even more remarkable.  So May 16, 2011 Mazzaro accomplished the unthinkable against the daunted Cleveland Indians offense when Vin became the first pitcher since 1900 to allow that many runs in less than 3.0 innings.  What a gruesome line.

"2.1 IP, 11 H, 14 R, 3 BB, 2 K"

Joe Posnanski was inspired to entitle the article the next day:  The Worst Pitching Performance Ever

"What’s more amazing is that nobody in baseball history had ever allowed 14 earned runs in fewer than three innings pitched until Mazzaro did it. True, you could argue that Lefty O’Doul’s outing in 1923, when he allowed 16 runs in three innings was worse … except THIRTEEN of those runs were unearned (That’s right: 13 were unearned). It seems pretty clear. Vin Mazzaro — through a combination of bad luck, bad pitching and bad timing — had the worst pitching performance in baseball history.There’s no telling what happens to Mazzaro now. It seems unlikely that he will stay in the big leagues. But you never know about the future. Mazzaro should take a little solace knowing that one game, a 20-year-old pitcher gave up 15 hits and 15 runs — including home runs to a couple of guys named DiMaggio and Gehrig. He walked nine. He threw away a wild pitch. It wasn’t good.That guy was named Bob Feller, and he led the American League in victories the next three years."

5.  Yeh, you might have picked up have a bad night once or twice in your life.  Perhaps had a few too many sodas, woke up with someone that, well, you know…  but you escaped that mess.

The world doesn’t know about it.  It’s your little secret.  The world doesn’t compare your one awful night to buttfumble.

6.  In 2006, he was named the ninth-best prospect in the Oakland Athletics system by Baseball America.   Billy Beane looked good.   Is that possible?

7.  In 2007, Vin made 28 starts for Single-A Stockton during which he led Stockton in nearly every category, including wins, losses, starts, innings pitched (153.2) strikeouts (115) and walks (71)

8.  In 2008, umm…Vin was the man earning a promotion to the A’s Triple-A club in August after a dominant season.  We will let the bio do the talking:

"Spent most of the season at Double-A Midland but was promoted on Aug. 3 and combined for a 15-6 record and a 2.74 ERA in 28 games, 27 starts…the win total tied for fifth most in all of minor league baseball and he also tied for seventh in hit batters (16) and ranked 13th in innings pitched (171.0)…led the A’s farm system in wins and innings pitched, ranked second in ERA and was third in strikeouts (131)…was named Texas League Pitcher of the Year after going 12-3 with a league leading 1.90 ERA in 22 starts for the RockHounds…also topped the circuit in wins, winning percentage (.800), opponents batting average (.229) and fewest base runners per nine innings (10.62)…had the fourth fewest walks per nine innings (2.36)…was also named to the TL Postseason All-Star Team and the Topps and Baseball America Double-A All-Star Teams…was named the fourth best prospect in the Texas League and the eight best prospect in the A’s organization by Baseball America.Mazzaro’s hard sinker sits in the low 90s and touches 95, generating groundballs. He pitches off his fastball, and he shows the ability to sink, run or cut it. His control got significantly better in 2008, allowing him to keep hitters off balance by mixing locations and changing planes. He showed a greater willingness to challenge hitters than he had in the past."

9.  In 2009, the 22-year old began the year at Triple-A and all those innings caught up with him, but not before he made 17 starts with the Athletics.  In 10 games at Triple-A he posted solid numbers and got the call on June 2.  He was placed on the DL in September with shoulder tendinitis.

He suffered from Paul Maholm syndrome during the year as his A’s teammates didn’t hit for shit.  In 14 of his 17 starts, Vin received run support of three runs or less.  On the year, his season run support of 3.55 was second lowest among AL pitchers who threw 90 or more innings.  (Check out who was number one–Jakubauskas, SEA 3.19 in 93.0 IP)

2009 Bio Stat of the Day:  Mazzaro went 0-8 in 11 starts with run support of two runs or less and 4-1 with support of three runs or more.

10.  In 2010, Mazzaro made 18 starts and became more consistent after a rough start to the year.  The right hander allowed around four runs per game in June, July and August after being around five-and-a-half per game in the month of May.

11.  In November of 2010, Billy Beane had seen enough and traded Mazzaro and minor league pitcher Justin Marks to the Kansas City Royals for David DeJesus.

12.  In 2011, Mazarro didn’t make the KC rotation due to a few open dates, so he started the year with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers.  At least he got a cool jersey, right?

The Royals called him up on May 10 and although he was scheduled to start on May 17, Vin was called into action against the Indians on May 16.

The rest was, as they say, was for the record books.  *See ButtFumble above  *See Joe Posanski Worst Pitching Performance Ever

13.  Mazzaro went on to make five additional appearances in 2011 after that game against the Tribe.  While he didn’t recover in an A.J. Burnett like fashion, after Burnett was rocked by the St. Louis Cardinals, he did allow a modest 10 runs over 22 innings pitched.  A year after Ned Yost let Mazzaro on the mound to roast, Big League Stew noted  that with the 14 earned-run outing, his career ERA sits at 5.12. Without the 14 earned runs, his career ERA would be 4.61.

The Curious Case of Vin Mazzaro tried to show that the former third-round pick did ok after his burnt to a crisp night in 2011.

Nevertheless, on November 28, 2012, Mazzaro was traded to the Bucs along with Clint Robinson for a couple of arms from the Pirates Dominican Summer League team–right-handed pitcher Luis Santos and left-hander Luis Rico.

Vin pitched in 25 games over his two years with the Royals.  He made ten starts, won five and lost four giving up a pile of runs, walks, and hits to the tune of a 6.72 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP.

The Bottom Line:  

Hope-ium Factor:   Maybe that Mazzaro sinker can be fixed.

Reality Factor:   So…Mazzaro doesn’t strike a lot of hitters out, is rather hittable and fails to make umpires yell strike, while also not getting a large amount of ground balls.

Yeh, we spent a lot of time on this.

At least you didn’t have to.