Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/18/14
VIN MAZZARO RIGHT HANDED PITCHER Born: September 27, 1986 Height: 6’2″ Weight: 220 Bats: Right Throws: Right Drafted: 3rd round, 101st overall, 2005 (Athletics) How Acquired: Trade (from Athletics) with Clint Robinson for Luis Rico and Luis Sanchez High School: Rutherford (NJ) HS Agent: ACES WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES When Mazzaro was drafted, he featured an upper-80s to low-90s fastball with good movement and a potentially good curve.  He moved quickly through Oakland’s system, but never got established in the majors despite significant opportunities over four years.  He also hasn’t pitched very well in AAA the last several years.  Mazzaro throws harder now than he did when he became a pro, averaging about 92 and topping out at 94-95.  His main secondary pitch is a slider and he throws the occasional change.  He’s gradually become more of a groundball pitcher, but generally has been hit hard in the majors and has not had high K rates.  As a major leaguer he’s had trouble with left-handed batters, who’ve posted an OPS of .884 against him compared to .768 by right-handed batters.  The Pirates acquired him, along with Clint Robinson, when the Royals designated them both for assignment to clear roster space after the 2012 season.  The Pirates only gave up two pitchers who’d been in the Dominican Summer League, neither of whom was considered a top prospect, which probably provides a good measure of Mazzaro’s and Robinson’s value. 2006 A:  9-9-0, 5.05 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 119.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 6.1 K/9 Mazzaro signed too late to play in 2005, then the A’s started him off aggressively in full season ball.  He put up mediocre numbers in 24 starts, but considering his experience level that’s not surprising. 2007 A+:  9-12-0, 5.33 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 153.1 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 6.7 K/9 Mazzaro got another tough assignment, making 28 starts in the hitting-happy California League.  His home park inflated HR totals, so the fact that he allowed 13 in 153.1 IP wasn’t bad. 2008 AA:  12-3-0, 1.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 137.1 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 6.8 K/9 AAA:  3-3-1, 6.15 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 33.2 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 7.2 K/9  Mazzaro had a big year, winning the Texas League ERA title and reaching AAA at age 21.  Baseball America ranked him the 8th best prospect in Oakland’s system after the season. 2009 AAA:  2-2-0, 2.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 56.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 7.0 K/9 MLB:  4-9-0, 5.32 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 91.1 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 5.8 K/9  Mazzaro got off to a strong start in AAA and the A’s called him up at the beginning of June.  He stayed in their rotation through the end of August and mostly struggled.  His groundball rate was only 39.1% and he gave up a lot of line drives, leading to a BABIP of .350.  He also had trouble with gopher balls, allowing a dozen. 2010 AAA:  3-1-0, 3.13 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 37.1 IP, 4.1 BB/9, 9.2 K/9 MLB:  6-8-0, 4.27 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 122.1 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 5.8 K/9 The A’s sent Mazzaro back to AAA to start the season and he pitched well there, posting his career high K rate.  The team called him up for one start in early May and then for good late in the month.  He ended up making 18 starts and six relief appearances.  He continued to have trouble with HRs, allowing 19.  After the season, the A’s traded Mazzaro to the Royals for David DeJesus. 2011 AAA:  7-2-0, 4.29 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 123.2 IP, 4.4 BB/9, 7.8 K/9 MLB:  1-1-0, 8.26 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 28.1 IP, 4.8 BB/9, 3.2 K/9 Mazzaro spent most of the season in the AAA rotation and didn’t pitch especially well there.  He had control problems and opponents hit .286 against him.  The Royals brought him up for several brief stints, which included a not-so-memorable outing against the Indians in which he allowed 14 earned runs in two and a third innings. 2012 AAA:  2-2-5, 3.63 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 67.0 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 8.3 K/9 MLB:  4-3-0, 5.73 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 44.0 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 5.3 K/9 Mazzaro split the season between AAA and the majors, serving as a swing man at both levels.  The Royals brought him to the majors briefly several times, then brought him up to stay in September.  In AAA, he pitched much better in relief, with a 1.80 ERA, as opposed to 4.40 starting, and much better peripherals, including more than a strikeout per inning.  In the majors he was also better as a reliever, but still didn’t pitch well, walking the same number he fanned.  He continued to struggle with a very high BABIP, in this case .354.  He got his groundball rate up to 45.9%, but he had a very high line drive rate of 27.4%. It’s not clear what role Mazzaro will play with the Pirates, but he’s out of options and so will have to make the team or be exposed to waivers.  The days when he could be considered a top prospect are gone, but he could have value as a reliever, a role in which he’s had only limited experience.  The Pirates could give him a chance to compete for a rotation spot, but he doesn’t look like a good candidate for that. STATS Baseball Reference–Majors Baseball Reference–Minors Fangraphs MLB.com MiLB.com CONTRACT INFORMATION 2013: Major league minimum PLAYER INFORMATION Signing Bonus: $380,000 MiLB Debut: 2006 MLB Debut: 6/2/2009 MiLB FA Eligible: N/A MLB FA Eligible: 2016 Rule 5 Eligible: N/A Added to 40-Man: 6/2/09 Options Remaining: 0 (USED:  2010, 2011, 2012) MLB Service Time: 2.026 TRANSACTIONS June 7, 2005: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 3rd round, 101st overall pick; signed on September 8. June 2, 2009: Contract purchased by the Oakland Athletics. November 10, 2010: Traded by the Oakland Athletics with Justin Marks to the Kansas City Royals for David DeJesus. November 28, 2012: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Clint Robinson to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Luis Rico and Luis Sanchez.
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