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.
Bazardo joined the Tigers in exchange for third-round pick Jeff Frazier, and posted an excellent 2007 season. Pitching at Triple-A Toledo, Yorman went 10-6, tying for tenth in the International League in wins, while spinning two complete games in the process. In addition, he ranked ninth in the league in ERA (3.75) and eleventh in WHIP (1.30). Topping it all off, Bazardo was named TigsTown's Toledo Pitcher of the Month for both May and June; two months where he combined to go 6-1 for the ‘Hens.
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 has been poor in the past, but he made nice strides working with the Tiger organization in 2007. If he can continue to throw quality strikes, he can be effective in either a starting or relief role.
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, and giving him the potential to become a dominating relief option.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG AAA
Overall, Yorman has been healthy throughout his professional career, experiencing only minor, nagging injuries at occasional intervals.
Bazardo is out of Major League options, and thus would have to clear waivers to be sent back to Toledo this spring. Bazardo had a nice cameo with Detroit last fall, and has continued to impress in workouts this spring. He is an odds on favorite to make the Detroit bullpen out of spring training, and the Tigers will be relying on him to provide quality innings with the absence of Joel Zumaya, and questions surrounding Fernando Rodney.
Yorman could have a future in the Tigers rotation, but with success out of the bullpen in 2008, and the expected rapid development of top prospect Rick Porcello, Bazardo may be better suited to refining his craft in a relief role. Establishing the young Bazardo early on in the season will be paramount to the Tigers success, and it could lead to the start of an extended, successful big league career.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.