Prospect Profile: Virgil Vasquez

Virgil Vasquez was TigsTown's 2004 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, for his superb season that he put together in West Michigan. Unfortunately, 2005 saw him face more challenging opposition, and in turn, not the same results. Can Vasquez return to his effective ways without having a dominating repertoire?

Virgil Vasquez
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-3 Weight: 205
Born: 6/7/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Virgil was an All-State (California) third baseman and pitcher his final two years at Santa Barbara High School, where during his senior season he posted a 12-1 record with a 2.08 ERA. As a freshman at the University of California – Santa Barbara, Vasquez posted a 3.95 ERA in 68 innings as the Gauchos mid-week starter. Vasquez was a solid weekend starter for UCSB during his sophomore and junior seasons, and was taken in the 7th round by the Detroit Tigers. This was the second time Virgil was taken in the 7th round, as the same was done by the Cincinnati Reds during the 2000 draft. After struggling through his first professional season in the New York-Penn League, Vasquez became the anchor of the 2004 Midwest League Champion, West Michigan pitching staff, posting a 3.64 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 27 starts. After his solid 2004 season, Vasquez started the 2005 campaign with the Lakeland Tigers, before an early promotion to AA-Erie. Virgil's numbers were not that impressive in 2005, but he was still a solid innings eater.

Scouting Report
Vasquez uses an average repertoire and exceptional control to make himself a very effective starter. When his control is off even a little bit, Vasquez struggles to get hitters out. He doesn't have the pure "stuff" to control a game without above average command of all his pitches. His fastball sits comfortably in the 87-89 range, touching 91 on occasion, with good late life that keeps hitters off balance. He can command both his two-seam and four-seam fastball to all four quadrants of the strike zone, and sets up hitters well. His breaking pitches have continued to become more refined, and simply lack everyday consistency to be above average offerings. Vasquez mixes his pitches well, and outthinks hitters on the mound. He is a cerebral player, who fields his position well, and takes pride in being a well rounded hurler. He may not have elite stuff, but his exceptional command and phenomenal poise make him a much better pitcher than many believe he should be.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

A+

Lakeland

4-1

4.21

8

8

0

31

7

47.0

1.26

AA

Erie

2-8

5.27

15

15

0

53

14

83.2

1.28


Health Record
Virgil battled many minor, nagging injuries during the 2005 season. None of those injuries should hamper him in 2006.

The Future
Vasquez will return to AA in 2006, and will likely serve as the poised cog in the middle of the Erie rotation. With a return to full health in 2006, Vasquez's location within the zone should return, and result in some much better overall numbers. Despite walking less than 1.5 hitters per nine innings in 2005, Vasquez was missing spots within the zone, resulting in a lot of hits against him. If he can quell that trend this season, he could be in line for a very fine season. Because of his plus makeup and mature approach to the game, Virgil could quickly move to Toledo with a hot start, and should injuries strike, he may be well-suited to jump to Detroit and fill a role at the back of the rotation.

Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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