Last week Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland talked about Javier Vazquez dealing with a “dead arm” period and after serving up a homer on an 85-mph fastball last night Vazquez expanded on his lack of velocity:
I reach back, and I see 88. The fastball is not there. I don’t have any zip on it. I don’t have any life on the fastball. I get a lot of swings and misses on my fastball. But all the swings and misses I’m getting are on my changeups and curveballs, not on my fastball. I’ve got a lot of innings in my arm. Maybe it’s catching up to me.
I’ve seen it before. I just don’t expect it to come from me, I guess. I didn’t expect it to happen to me. I’ve always done my work. I worked hard in the offseason, during the season between starts. You think you’ll be able to throw the same thing you’ve been throwing your whole career. I hope it comes back. If not, I’ve got to do a better job locating.
Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger put together a handy chart showing Vazquez’s month-by-month average fastball velocity dating back to April of 2008 and during that time he’s gradually gone from throwing in the low-90s to throwing in the high-80s.
According to Pitch-f/x he averaged between 91.1 and 91.8 miles per hour on his fastball every season from 2005 to 2009, but this year his velocity has dipped to 88.8 mph. Interestingly, the actual effectiveness of his fastball hasn’t really changed and most of Vazquez’s struggles have involved hitters teeing off on his slider.