Javy Vazquez to NY: The Fantasy Impact

Twitter is blowing up with 140-character chunks of analysis on the latest Yankees trade which netted them Javier Vazquez for the Melky Cabrera, Michael Dunn and Arodys Vizciano. Instead of focusing on who won or lost the deal (consensus is the Braves were slaughtered, but I’m not entirely sure), let’s look at the fantasy baseball impact of the move.

In early November, I published the first edition of my top 60 starting pitchers for 2010. It was a first run that has already undergone serious changes (I had forgotten about Jordan Zimmerman‘s Tommy John Surgery for one thing) and this trade will affect yet another big change. I rated Vazquez 9th in between Josh Beckett and Jake Peavy. I loved him as an ace based not only on his excellent 2009 season, but also the elite skills displayed each of the four years prior to 2009. In those four seasons he struck out 8.4 per nine while walking just 2.3, but he was saddled with a 4.41 ERA and a sub-.500 record (49-51). I expect the skills to remain strong, but I’d be blown away if he managed an ERA anywhere near his 2009 mark. He has a 4.02 ERA in 1664 National League innings, but a 4.52 ERA in 826 American League innings.

Vazquez is going to move down my list a healthy bit with his move to New York. If you’re looking for specifics on his numbers, I’d project at least an ERA of 4.20 and a WHIP slightly above his career level of 1.25. The biggest problem will be the rise in HR/9. He was at a sparkling 0.8 last year, but 1.5 during his first tour in New York. If he’s at 1.5 again in 2010, the 4.20 ERA might be way off. Look for at least a 1.2 mark, which would be at least 10 more home runs if he kept his 2009 inning count intact.

He will still crack the top 60 of course, but he doesn’t stand a chance at being in the top 15 first tier in the next SP list update.

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