2011 Dodgers Player Profile: Luis Vasquez, The 100 MPH Surprise

I know I already used this picture once, but there just aren't an abundance of Luis Vasquez pictures out there.

November 19 of last year was a day full of surprises.  First, the Dodgers shocked the world by adding two players to their 40-man roster that fans had never heard of.  One of those players was Luis Vasquez, who had just finished a fine season in LoA but was already 24 years old and wasn’t on anyone’s 40-man roster addition radar.  Shortly after the news broke, however, there was another surprise as it was revealed that Vasquez had a fastball that could reach triple digits.  That made the Dodgers decision to add Vasquez to their 40-man roster more rational, although I still question the move since I highly doubt anyone would have taken a chance on Vasquez in the Rule 5 draft given his age and inexperience. 

Whether it was the right decision or not, the fact that the Dodgers added Vasquez to their 40-man roster shows that he is a much better prospect than anyone thought.  I trust the Dodger scouts more than I trust stats, so at the very least the Dodgers now have a very interesting project on their hands.  If he can learn better control he could be a very dangerous weapon in the future.

Dubbed "Vasqy" by his Loons teammates, Luis’ name didn’t even come up in the TBLA prospect ranking discussion, but he squeaked into Baseball America’s 2011 Dodger prospect rankings at #30.  I wasn’t quite as kind as I had him at #47 on my list, with my rational being that he has poor control and is going to have to do something in the upper minor leagues before he moves up any further in my rankings.  I also wrote this about him:

…Vasquez posted a strong ERA and batting average against with the Loons in 2010, but he was also one of the older players in the Midwest League, did not have good peripheral stats in 2010, and has terrible career stats.  Vasquez is extremely wild, and has a career walk rate of 6.1 walks per 9 innings.  He also gives up a lot of home runs, and has a career K/9 of just 6.60.  Stats aside, Vasquez does have a fastball can reach into the upper 90’s and has an ideal pitcher’s frame, so obviously that is what the Dodgers were looking at when they added him to their 40 man roster.  But even still, there is no way that another team would have selected Vasquez in the Rule 5 draft had he been left unprotected.  One good thing about him being on the 40 man roster, however, is that now he will get more of a chance to work with major league coaches.  Hopefully these coaches will be able to teach him better control of his 99 mph, which could turn the soon to be 25 year old into a legitimate prospect in 2011.  With a full season of LoA under his belt, combined with stops in HiA in previous seasons, I’m guessing that Vasquez will be ready for AA next year.

2011 will be a big year for Vasquez and his career, especially since more people will being paying attention to him now that he’s on the 40-man roster.  While he might just turn out to be another Jesus Castillo or Mario Alvarez, his hard fastball could be what sets him apart from other failed prospects before him. 

Trivia

Luis Vasquez was originally signed as a shortstop, but hit just .188 with a .214 slugging percentage through 117 at bats in the DSL in 2004.  The next season he was moved to the mound, but threw just 28 innings before succumbing to Tommy John surgery.  He missed the entire 2006 season, then made his US debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007.

Contract Status

As discussed above, Vasquez was just added to the 40-man roster this past November.  Therefore he is under team control and has three options remaining. 

Stats

Year Level Age IP W L ERA WHIP K K/9 BAA FIP

2008

Rook

22

12.0

0

0

1.50

1.25

6

4.5

.220

4.20

2008

HiA

22

19.0

0

0

4.74

1.47

8

3.8

.219

5.57

2009

Rook

23

58.1

3

3

5.09

1.56

40

6.2

.258

5.67

2009

HiA

23

12.2

0

2

9.95

2.05

11

7.8

.291

8.09

2010

LoA

24

40.1

3

2

2.68

1.24

39

8.7

.173

4.14

2011 Outlook

Vasquez has never played above A ball, but at 24 years old he will almost certainly spend 2011 in AA.  Unless he has a miraculous season a la Kenley Jansen in 2010, Luis won’t see Los Angeles this season.

Does the TBLA community think that Luis Vasquez will make his major league debut in 2011?  If so, how many innings will he throw for the Dodgers?

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