Since saving 20 games for the 2002 Florida Marlins, Nunez' career has taken a nose dive.
Vladimir posted a 1.69 ERA last April the Colorado Rockies, but in May is ballooned to 10.80 and was sent down to AAA Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League.
In 23 games at AAA Nunez posted a 2-5 record with a 5.68 ERA.
A free agent at the end of the season, Nunez signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers in November.
Mechanics: Nunez' problems lie in his mechanics. He has a 3/4 angle of delivery with his pitches, with a hard delivery from a semi-windup. He throws easy for a quick arm, but is inconsistent in his release, with all of his pitches.
Naturally an inconsistent release point means inconsistent control, hence all his time at AAA.
The seven year major league veteran has four pitches, a change up, split finger, slider and two seam fastball.
Change Up: His change up is rated average at best and is perhaps his least effective pitch.
Split Finger: His split finger fastball is his best pitch and is his get them out pitch, at times as you can look at his record he can be inconsistent with his out pitch.
Slider: Has above average speed and movement with a hard late break, that can be a very effective part of his makeup.
Two Seam: The Cardinals will try to get Nunez to focus on his two seam fast ball. In terms of movement and velocity, it could be the pitch that could lead to his call up to St. Louis. It has above average speed with a range between 89-93 miles per hour and very good movement and heavy sink that induces a lot of ground balls.
SUMMARY - Once consider a decent prospect with decent tools, Nunez never developed into a quality reliever. He had a couple of decent years with the Marlins but his lack of command has led to his playing time in the minors.
He has trouble getting his pitches over for strikes and when he takes something off his pitches just to get them over the strike zone, he gets hammered.
If Nunez is willing to put in the work with the Cardinals Coaches on his mechanics and bring the right competitive attitude to the Cardinals, he could see playing time in St. Louis in 2005.