The Yankees faced a bit of a conundrum over the weekend when they optioned rookie pitcher Jhony Brito to the minors to make room for the return of Luis Severino. Since Domingo Germán was suspended, someone would have to take the start on Friday that otherwise would have been handled by Germán or Brito. The organization waited a few days to make sure that neither injury nor bad weather made the decision for them, but now, the answer is here.
Pitching prospect Randy Vásquez was in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse this afternoon, and shortly after he was noticed, he confirmed to reporters that he would be getting the ball on Friday night against the Padres. Regardless of whether he starts or simply serves as the “bulk guy” for an opener, it will be his MLB debut, and somewhat amusingly, it will be only his second time at a major league game ... after tonight.
Randy Vasquez has never attended a major league game. He will watch from the dugout tonight and then he will be on the mound for the Yankees tomorrow night.— JackCurryYES (@JackCurryYES) May 25, 2023
Vásquez was first signed by New York out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, when he was 19. Since then, he’s gradually climbed the organizational ladder, most remarkably in 2021, when he jumped from Low-A Tampa at the start of the season to Double-A Somerset by late August.
Bumped to Triple-A for the first time this year, Vásquez has seen uneven results with a 4.85 ERA, 4.68 FIP, a 25.5-percent K rate, and an 11.7-percent walk rate in 42.2 innings. Part of that may have been growing pains though, as in his four most recent starts, he has a much more palatable 2.14 ERA and 2.79 FIP with nary a homer allowed. He’s only exceeded five innings in two of his nine starts, so expect the Yankees to have a quick hook with Vásquez.
Eric Longenhagen ranked Vásquez 11th in his preseason evaluation of the Yankees’ top prospects, and here’s what he had to say about his repertoire:
His low-80s, two-planed sweeping breaking ball has elite spin and is Vásquez’s best pitch. He can vary the shape on his 93-95 mph fastball to feature more or less sink, though his long, low arm swing always tends to impart tail and sink on that pitch. An upper-80s cutter and changeup round out a repertoire full of firm pitches that make Vásquez’s slower slurve more conspicuous to hitters.
The rookie will have his work cut out for him, as he’ll be facing a Padres lineup that will likely feature a dangerous group of hitters. Manny Machado’s on the injured list, but expect to see Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenworth, and perhaps even old friend Matt Carpenter.