In addition to getting Melky Cabrera from the Yankees in return for Javy Vazquez and Boone Logan, the Braves got a pair of pitching prospects. Here’s some more info on the Minor League arms.
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 and .211 batting average against in 10 starts. Over his 42 1/3 IP, 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.
The Rule 5 Draft begins on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET. All signs point to it not being the strongest crop in the world, but there’s been plenty of activity recently in terms of names being mentioned, trades, etc. Consider this your warehouse for our Rule 5 content, with links to all of our Rule 5-related stories below.
First read is the Rule 5 Names to Know story recently posted on MLB.com.
Now, the latest buzz…
The name being mentioned most often in the top spot is still Marlins OF John Raynor. An interesting rumor is that the Yankees (they’re technically getting the pick from the Nats in the Bruney trade) will have the Nats take their own player, lefty reliever Zach Kroenke, to give back to them. … The Pirates were going to take someone at No. 2 and it seemed like they were looking at a position player. There was some buzz about it being a catcher, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. … The Royals, it seemed, were contemplating making room on their 40-man to make a pick at No. 4, with a lefty reliever being a possibility. Maybe that could be Kroenke if he’s available. … Cleveland has the No. 5 selection and might be looking at pitching. Maybe Diamondbacks RHP Hector Ambriz would be a fit there. … Word is the Diamondbacks are looking at a reliever with the sixth pick. I’m digging for a name. … Technically, the Astros have the No. 8 pick, but the selection will be sent to the Marlins as the player to be named later in the Matt Lindstrom deal.
That’s it for now. Look for more updates all night via my twitter account @JonathanMayoB3.
Now, for some links:
- Top 10 Rule 5 picks since 1990
- 2008 Rule 5 review
- AFL showcases Rule 5 talent
- Rule 5 buzz not new for Wimberley
- Hayes hopes to submarine way through Rule 5