Javier Vazquez’s velocity will likely improve
Yesterday, I wrote about Javier Vazquez’s fastball, dispelling the notion that he is a hard-throwing strikeout pitcher that has lost some of the life on his four-seamer. Bob Klapisch had wondered if that was the case, however, at this point, after just two starts on the season, such concern is unwarranted. As I noted, Vazquez’s fastball, which was clocked in at about 89 mph, on average, in his start against the Angels, is still gaining life. Again, he has only made two starts and it is mid-April, not mid-August. The fastball will get better, as it has done over the past two seasons.
In 2008 and 2009, Vazquez’s fastball averaged 90.4 mph through April. With two more starts lined up this month, Vazquez can certainly meet that mark. In addition, in 2008 and 2009, Vazquez’s fastball velocity improved in each month following April. For instance, though he threw 90.4 mph in April of 2008, in May he averaged 92 mph, and in June it was 91.5 mph. The same pattern was evident in 2009, as Vazquez averaged 90.4 mph in April, and then hit 91.2 mph in May, and 91.4 mph in June. So, not only was velocity gained in subsequent months, it was kept and used consistently. Some may then cite an average velocity dip from 2008-2009 as an issue, however, Vazquez also threw his fastball less last year. Perhaps he was adapting to lesser velocity or, he was simply pitching differently.
Either way, it is far too early to worry ourselves with Javier Vazquez’s fastball. If in June or July he is averaging 89 mph, maybe then we should be concerned. Until then, though, we should just wait it out and see if it improves.
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