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Monday's Mazzaro is the Man Manana Minor League Update

I had absolutely no intention of writing an update today, as I’ve got a 200+ comment diary rolling and I’m coming down with a bug… so I should be limiting my time on AN and getting some rest.


The A’s done gone and plan to call up Vin Mazzaro

to pitch on Tuesday and I would be remiss in my duties as AN’s minor league writer if I didn’t suck it up and give the masses the info they crave on tomorrow’s starting pitcher.


So let’s do this.




I’m not sure who the A’s plan on waiving/cutting/60 Day DLing from the 40 man roster to make room for Mazzaro but my guess is Rajai Davis, with the waiver wire and on to Sacramento. The way I see it, Cunningham and Buck (once he returns from the DL) will get the bulk of the playing time in RF. Add Sweeney and Holliday, plus Cust when he’s not DHing and you’ve got your big league outfield depth. And what if the A’s need another outfielder between Wednesday and whenever Buck gets back? Old stand-by Chris Denorfia gets the call.

At least, that’s how I’d play things.


So what does AN need to know about Mazzaro that they might not already know?


He’s 22 years old and has been absolutely dominant over his last 4 appearances, striking out 21 in 27.2 IP while allowing 9 hits, 4 walks and 1 earned run. Over the course of his career he’s posted a very strong groundball rate but that changed in May of ’09, with his 1.16 GO/AO being a great deal lower than his 2.93 rate in April. Does this represent cause for alarm? Hard to say. Mazzaro got a lot of ground balls in April but he also walked 12 in 24 IP. He needed to make an adjustment or the walks were going to kill him. He had a lot of luck limiting hits in May (17 Hits in 33.0 IP) but he also bumped his K/9 from 5.96 to 7.36.

Primarily a fastball/slider pitcher (FB in the low-90’s with reports that it can touch 95, BA grades the slider as an average big league offering) it seems like he’s always been working on his change-up. Perhaps his off-speed pitch is starting to come around as he’s shown marked improvement vs. lefty batters in 2009. (Lefties posted a 1.33 WHIP vs. Mazzaro in 2008; they’re at 1.06 this season.) Mazzaro also improved his numbers vs. RH batters. Basically, he’s shown improvement across the board two months into the season.

But is this improvement for real or is Mazzaro just hot? Hard to say for certain, although I feel the A’s are rushing him just a bit. I’d have preferred another month of AAA dominance before calling him up but oh well. Tuesday’s performance won’t really answer the question either, as if he does poorly you could just chalk it up to rookie jitters and if he pitches great it could be an affect of no one having a book on the rookie pitcher and he catches the White Sox by surprise. What ever he does, I’d like to see him last at least 6 innings so the bullpen doesn’t get worn out.


Best o’ luck kid, and welcome to the Show.