Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Signed out of Venezuela in 2000 by the Marlins, Bazardo made his professional debut in 2001 with Ciudad Alianza of the Venezuelan Summer League. Over 12 starts, he posted a 7-2 record with a 2.43 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. The Marlins promoted him aggressively in 2002, skipping the then 17-year old to the New York-Penn League where he pitched solely in relief; notching a perfect 5-0 mark with six saves and another sub-3.00 ERA.
The 2003 and 2004 seasons were very successful for Yorman, as he moved through low and high-A ball, seeing action in 46 games (all starts) with ERAs of 3.12 and 3.27, respectively. In his first taste of advanced competition, Bazardo struggled to get outs at his previously established rates, seeing his ERA leap over 4.00 for the first time in his career. A deadline trade sent him from the Marlins to the Mariners, where he went on to pitch for the M's Texas League affiliate in San Antonio. Through 25 starts for San Antonio, Bazardo finished at 6-5 with a 3.64/1.37 line, and was named to both the mid-season and post-season Texas League All-Star squads.
Yorman joins the Tigers in a deal that sent former third-round draft choice Jeff Frazier to the Mariners.
Bazardo is yet another Tiger pitching prospect with tremendous raw arm strength. Having touched 98 mph in the past, he routinely sits in the 91-93 range. His fastball has inconsistent late life, down in the zone. His change-up is far and away his top secondary offering. He keeps his arm speed up well, and can work his change-up from the dirt to just above the knees, with regularity. His fastball-change combination has plus potential.
While both his curve and slider have made significant progress in recent seasons, they still lag behind in overall effectiveness. If either pitch is to develop, it is likely to be his slider, but even with progress it is just likely to be an average big league pitch. Yorman's command is still pore, and must improve for him to remain in the rotation. He throws strikes with ease, but lacks the ability to spot any of his pitches throughout the zone. Without improved command, his future likely lies in the bullpen.
Bazardo is a solid-average athlete. He repeats his mechanics well and fields his position with aplomb. His makeup is considered a positive trait, as he rarely gets rattled on the mound. Overall, his package points towards a move to the bullpen in the near future. A move to a relief role, may allow his fastball to routinely sit in the 93-95 range, making his change-up even more effective.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG AA
Overall, Yorman has been healthy throughout his professional career, experiencing only minor, nagging injuries at occasional intervals.
Bazardo has proven he is ready for the AAA challenge, and he will likely receive it with an assignment to Toledo in April. With some vacancies in the Mudhens' rotation, Bazardo could step right in and fill a void. While his future role is likely in relief, the organization will look to keep him in the rotation to further refine his slider and curveball, with more innings.
Yorman is nearly ready for the Major Leagues, and could see time in Detroit as soon as this summer. His Major League debut with the Mariners in 2005 did not go well, but that should not be indicative of his abilities at the highest level. Look for Bazardo to enjoy the more pitcher friendly environment of the International League, and he should see some time in Detroit before the close of the 2007 campaign.
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.