Javy Vazquez

Note: If you are of the belief that Javy Vazquez simply can’t pitch in New York, then stop reading. You probably also find value in watching Baseball Tonight.

It’s no secret that Javy Vazquez has been awful in his first four starts of the 2010 season. In Vazquez’s own words, he’s embarrassed by the way he’s pitched. His ERA+ of 44 certainly gives him reason to feel that way. Before we get all crazy though, let’s keep in mind that it’s only been four starts. For now, let’s break down Javy’s performance by The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

Despite his struggles, Javy is still striking out hitters at a high rate. His K/9 of 8.10 is better than the rates of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte.

His left on base percentage is 57.6%, meaning just about half of the runners who get on base are scoring. That’s highly unusual for both Vazquez and MLB in general. Typically, about 70% of runners who get on base end up stranded. In addition, his BABIP of .342 is 33 points above his career average. Some tough luck for Javy and numbers that are likely to show significant improvement.

Another sign of bad luck can be found in Javy’s HR/FB rate, as 18.5% of flyballs are leaving the park. That’s 7.3% higher than his career rate. Look for that to normalize.

The Bad

Javy is walking hitters at more than double his career rate. His BB/9 of 4.95 is crazy bad for him.

Swinging strikes are significantly down too. During his Chicago years, he never averaged less than 10.7% of his pitches resulting in a swinging strike. He’s at 8.4% currently.

The Ugly

His fastball. Typically around 91 mph for his career, he’s clocking in for an average of 88.8 now. But not only is the velocity down, the end result of his fastball has been poor. The pitch has been worth -4.7 runs below average. In fact, every type of pitch but his slider (+1.3 runs) has been below average.

Some bad luck + control issues + ineffective pitches = Javy looking terrible. It’s still extremely early though, so calm down.

*Props to Louis Winthorpe III, Jake Fratelli, and Vizzini for also contributing to this post. Data source: Fangraphs