Vazquez Mixing It Up

SAVANNAH, GA - Left-handed pitcher Carlos Vazquez entered the 2012 regular season prepared to throw in his first full minor league season. Armed with a crafty willingness to adjust to hitters as well as a heightened sense of confidence in his stuff, Vazquez came to Low-A Savannah intent on succeeding in his transition from starter to long reliever.

Carlos Vazquez spent the 2011-2012 offseason back home in a suburb of Mexico City. There he worked out running, lifting weights, and doing the tube exercises prescribed for him by the Mets organization with a slight focus on his shoulder.

The 2012 Spring Training was Vazquez's first since entering the Met's organization. Vazquez reported having a great time and enjoying the experience. He also learned something about what it will take to be successful in pro baseball.

"I liked the confidence I saw in the other players," Vazquez said. "At times in previous years I was hesitant to throw certain pitches to some hitters. I realized it was important to have the confidence in myself to trust my ability and the throw any pitch in any count."

It was also during the spring that Vazquez was informed by one of his Savannah teammates of new plans for what role he would fill for the Gnats in 2012.

"Marcos Camarena came to me and told me we would be middle relievers," Vazquez said.

This was news for Vazquez but relief pitching is not entirely new territory for him. Since he began pitching in the Met's system in 2009 he has made 51 appearances in relief to go with 21 starts [including his Mexican League appearances]. So Vazquez has a history of fulfilling both roles.

In fact during 2011 he split between the two. He started 14 times for the Mets affiliate in Brooklyn and appeared in relief seven times in for the Mexican League team Venodos de Mazatlan in Oaxaca as a reliever.

Utilizing the newfound confidence he took away from Spring Training, Vazquez has embraced his role as a long reliever and the pressure of appearing in potentially game changing situations.

"When I come in a game with runners on or to match up against a lefty hitter I feel exited. I like the challenge," Vazquez said. "I feel eager and have a lot of confidence that I can control myself and my pitches really well."

Sand Gnats head coach Luis Rojas sees the improved confidence in the way Vazquez attacks opposing hitters.

"Carlos is a guy that comes in and keeps us in the lead," Rojas said. "He is confident and he has been effective this year throwing inside and mixing up his pitches."

Vazquez comes after hitters three solid offerings. He throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball [with sinking action] that sits anywhere in the 86 to 91 mph range. He also works in a changup and slider.

Vazquez said his favorite pitch is his changeup but that his strikeouts usually come on his fastball or slider offerings.

Rojas said that Vazquez's history as a starter and three-pitch mix allow him to be an ideal candidate to pick up a starter after a short outing and coach Rojas says he has "racked up lots of holds this season" for the Sand Gnats in the role.

At this point Vazquez possess two of the three characteristics Rojas mentioned that are present in an effective relief pitcher.

To Rojas, and effective reliever enters a game mixing up various pitches with the ability to generate a strikeout from any one of those offerings. Those attributes Vazquez are ones Vazquez has right now.

The only lacking area at this point for Vazquez is his initial command when entering a game, although it is a minor problem at this point.

Rojas reported that Vazquez went through a period where he was elevating his fastball this season and the result was a stretch of rough outings. And 26 walks in 71 innings means control can be improved upon but is near where it needs to be.

Vazquez uses nuance to get the edge on opposing hitters. For example, he will switch sides of the pitching rubber and throw different pitches in an attempt to make opponents pick up on a pattern that is not really there.

"Sometimes I change sides of the pitching rubber to deceive the hitter," Vazquez admitted. "I want to make a hitter think a fastball is coming because I am standing in a certain spot, and then throw a slider or change."

Being a reliever has changed the types of things Vazquez pays attention to when he enters a game.

"I used to pay more attention to base runners when I was a starter. Now if I enter a game with multiple runners already on I am more focused on getting out the hitter than trying to hold on runners," Vazquez said.

Despite the fact that the 5-foot-10 and 188 pound Vazquez is naturally a little undersized for a professional pitcher. Strength coach Jason Griffen says Vazquez approached him at the start of the season hoping to lose a little extra weight off his frame.

Griffen said Vazquez has lost about nine pounds [down from 197] and feels better with the lower body fat percentage.

"Carlos isn't the strongest around but he has physicality that's not so apparent until you see him playing and showing his skills," Griffin said.

Coach Rojas thinks that a few specifics are needed to improve Vazquez's game.

"Control can always be improved and Carlos got into some trouble elevating his fastball earlier in the season. He also stands to improve lefty vs. lefty and becoming a better left-handed specialist along with others on our staff," Rojas said.

Vazquez's goal for the rest of the year is to continue to put up solid numbers and provide a good base to enter the 2013 season.

"I hope finish this season strong and stay healthy for next season," Vazquez concluded.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nCarlos Vazquez spent the 2011-2012 offseason back home in a suburb of Mexico City. There he worked out running, lifting weights, and doing the tube exercises prescribed for him by the Mets organization with a slight focus on his shoulder.
\r\n
\r\nThe 2012 Spring Training was Vazquez's first since entering the Met's organization. Vazquez reported having a great time and enjoying the experience. He also learned something about what it will take to be successful in pro baseball.
\r\n
\r\n\"I liked the confidence I saw in the other players,\" Vazquez said. \"At times in previous years I was hesitant to throw certain pitches to some hitters. I realized it was important to have the confidence in myself to trust my ability and the throw any pitch in any count.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt was also during the spring that Vazquez was informed by one of his Savannah teammates of new plans for what role he would fill for the Gnats in 2012.
\r\n
\r\n\"Marcos Camarena came to me and told me we would be middle relievers,\" Vazquez said.
\r\n
\r\nThis was news for Vazquez but relief pitching is not entirely new territory for him. Since he began pitching in the Met's system in 2009 he has made 51 appearances in relief to go with 21 starts [including his Mexican League appearances]. So Vazquez has a history of fulfilling both roles.
\r\n
\r\nIn fact during 2011 he split between the two. He started 14 times for the Mets affiliate in Brooklyn and appeared in relief seven times in for the Mexican League team Venodos de Mazatlan in Oaxaca as a reliever.
\r\n
\r\nUtilizing the newfound confidence he took away from Spring Training, Vazquez has embraced his role as a long reliever and the pressure of appearing in potentially game changing situations.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I come in a game with runners on or to match up against a lefty hitter I feel exited. I like the challenge,\" Vazquez said. \"I feel eager and have a lot of confidence that I can control myself and my pitches really well.\"
\r\n
\r\nSand Gnats head coach Luis Rojas sees the improved confidence in the way Vazquez attacks opposing hitters.
\r\n
\r\n\"Carlos is a guy that comes in and keeps us in the lead,\" Rojas said. \"He is confident and he has been effective this year throwing inside and mixing up his pitches.\"
\r\n
\r\nVazquez comes after hitters three solid offerings. He throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball [with sinking action] that sits anywhere in the 86 to 91 mph range. He also works in a changup and slider.
\r\n
\r\nVazquez said his favorite pitch is his changeup but that his strikeouts usually come on his fastball or slider offerings.
\r\n
\r\nRojas said that Vazquez's history as a starter and three-pitch mix allow him to be an ideal candidate to pick up a starter after a short outing and coach Rojas says he has \"racked up lots of holds this season\" for the Sand Gnats in the role.
\r\n
\r\nAt this point Vazquez possess two of the three characteristics Rojas mentioned that are present in an effective relief pitcher.
\r\n
\r\nTo Rojas, and effective reliever enters a game mixing up various pitches with the ability to generate a strikeout from any one of those offerings. Those attributes Vazquez are ones Vazquez has right now.
\r\n
\r\nThe only lacking area at this point for Vazquez is his initial command when entering a game, although it is a minor problem at this point.
\r\n
\r\nRojas reported that Vazquez went through a period where he was elevating his fastball this season and the result was a stretch of rough outings. And 26 walks in 71 innings means control can be improved upon but is near where it needs to be.
\r\n
\r\nVazquez uses nuance to get the edge on opposing hitters. For example, he will switch sides of the pitching rubber and throw different pitches in an attempt to make opponents pick up on a pattern that is not really there.
\r\n
\r\n\"Sometimes I change sides of the pitching rubber to deceive the hitter,\" Vazquez admitted. \"I want to make a hitter think a fastball is coming because I am standing in a certain spot, and then throw a slider or change.\"
\r\n
\r\nBeing a reliever has changed the types of things Vazquez pays attention to when he enters a game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I used to pay more attention to base runners when I was a starter. Now if I enter a game with multiple runners already on I am more focused on getting out the hitter than trying to hold on runners,\" Vazquez said.
\r\n
\r\nDespite the fact that the 5-foot-10 and 188 pound Vazquez is naturally a little undersized for a professional pitcher. Strength coach Jason Griffen says Vazquez approached him at the start of the season hoping to lose a little extra weight off his frame.
\r\n
\r\nGriffen said Vazquez has lost about nine pounds [down from 197] and feels better with the lower body fat percentage.
\r\n
\r\n\"Carlos isn't the strongest around but he has physicality that's not so apparent until you see him playing and showing his skills,\" Griffin said.
\r\n
\r\nCoach Rojas thinks that a few specifics are needed to improve Vazquez's game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Control can always be improved and Carlos got into some trouble elevating his fastball earlier in the season. He also stands to improve lefty vs. lefty and becoming a better left-handed specialist along with others on our staff,\" Rojas said.
\r\n
\r\nVazquez's goal for the rest of the year is to continue to put up solid numbers and provide a good base to enter the 2013 season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I hope finish this season strong and stay healthy for next season,\" Vazquez concluded.
\r\n
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