Atlanta Braves 2012 Prospect Review: Arodys Vizcaíno

Oct 7, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino (38) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning of game three of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino (38) throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning of game three of the 2018 NLDS playoff baseball series at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The end is near in our review of the Atlanta Braves prospects back from 2012. Up next, we talk about the 2nd ranked prospect from the time, Arodys Vizcaíno. The previous editions can be found here:

Arodys Vizcaíno Signs with the Yankees

The New York Yankees signed Arodys Vizcaíno as an international free agent back in 2007. He would make his professional debut stateside that following year. Here are the numbers:

  • 2008 Rookie: 12 games (6 starts), 44.0 innings- 3.68 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 3.05 xFIP, 1.16 WHIP, 25.8% strikeout rate, & 7.0% walk rate
  • 2009 A-: 10 starts, 42.1 innings- 2.13 ERA, 2.63 FIP, 2.49 xFIP, 1.16 WHIP, 29.1% strikeout rate, & 8.4% walk rate

Following this 2009 season, Vizcaíno rose to being ranked as high as third in the Yankees farm system. He was also considered to have the best curveball in the Yankees organization. The future was looking bright for the young pitcher.

Arodys Vizcaíno Gets Traded for the First Time

In what ends up being the first of several trades, Arodys Vizcaíno was traded by the New York Yankees on December 22nd, 2009. The Yankees traded Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Vizcaíno to the Atlanta Braves for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez.

The Braves acquired a stud in Vizcaíno. Baseball America had him ranked as the 69th prospect in all of baseball entering 2010. That season:

  • A: 14 starts, 71.2 innings- 2.39 ERA, 2.30 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, 1.00 WHIP, 23.3% strikeout rate, & 3.1% walk rate
  • A+: 3 starts, 13.2 innings- 4.61 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 3.44 xFIP, 1.39 WHIP, 18.0% strikeout rate, & 4.9% walk rate

A right elbow strain prevented Vizcaíno from making more than 3 starts at A+. The elbow strain would eventually be discovered to be a partially torn elbow ligament. Which caused some obvious concern heading into 2011.

Even with the injury, he was still ranked as the 93rd ranked prospect preseason. He was the Braves 5th ranked prospect according to MLB pipeline and 7th according to Baseball America. He responded with a solid 2011 throughout the minors:

  • A+: 9 starts, 40.1 innings- 2.45 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, 1.02 WHIP, 23.0% strikeout rate, & 6.2% walk rate
  • AA: 11 games (8 starts), 49.2 innings- 3.81 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 3.31 xFIP, 1.25 WHIP, 26.2% strikeout rate, & 8.6% walk rate
  • AAA: 6 games (0 starts), 7.0 innings- 1.29 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 1.78 xFIP, 1.00 WHIP, 28.6% strikeout rate, & 0.0% walk rate

Overall, in the minors, that resulted in a 3.06 ERA, 1.134 WHIP, and 100 strikeouts in 97 innings. Solid work but he was being worked more towards the bullpen as he rose the minors. Mostly because of the worry over his elbow. His performance did earn him a promotion to the major leagues, making his debut on August 10th, 2011 against the San Francisco Giants.

In 17.1 innings, he had a 4.67 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 4.46 xFIP, 3.82 SIERA, 1.44 WHIP, 22.1% strikeout rate, & 11.7% walk rate. Nothing eye popping but he had finally arrived. Giving hope that he could be a major league contributor for years to come.

He rose to the 2nd ranked prospect in the Braves system according to both MLB & Baseball America. MLB pipeline had him as the 36th overall prospect in baseball.

Unfortunately, Vizcaíno would undergo Tommy John surgery on March 20th, 2012 putting a halt to the momentum he was building in his career. It would also signal the end of his first Braves tenure.

Arodys Vizcaíno Heads to the Windy City..Kinda

Although Vizcaíno was going to miss significant time due to the surgery, he was still a coveted arm to some. This led to the Braves trading him at the 2012 trade deadline, along with Jaye Chapman, to the Chicago Cubs for Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, and cash.

His tenure with the Braves ended and now was expected to become a valuable member of the Cubs in 2013. He would start the 2013 season on the 60-day Disabled List still recovering from Tommy John surgery and it was expected he could return around the All-Star break. However, he would require arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in May and it would force him to miss the 2013 season as well. Two full years missed because of the elbow.

He finally got going again in 2014 and after an extended rehab assignment, he would finally make his return to the major leagues in September when rosters expanded. Nearly three years since his last major league appearance, Vizcaíno had fought his way back. He only pitched 5 innings to mixed results, but he had found himself once again in the big leagues.

After all of that, he would only pitch 5 innings for the Cubs before being traded for a third time.

Arodys Vizcaíno Heads Back to Atlanta

On November 16th, 2014 Arodys Vizcaíno was traded back to the Atlanta Braves, along with three international bonus pool slots for Tommy La Stella and an international bonus pool slot.

It was not a great start to his second stint. Not only was Vizcaíno optioned to Gwinnett immediately, he was suspended for 80 games in 2015 for testing positive for stanozolol in April. Following the suspension, he would get an opportunity to join a not good Braves bullpen. Following Jim Johnson being traded and Jason Grilli being lost for the season with injury, Vizcaíno would get a shot as a closer and perform well. Overall, in 2015, he appeared in 33.2 innings with a 1.60 ERA, 3.83 xERA, 2.48 FIP, 3.50 xFIP, 3.25 SIERA, 26.6% strikeout rate, & 9.4% walk rate.

It earned him the opportunity to be the team’s closer entering the 2016 season. Through June, he was pitching well with a sub-2 ERA and 7 saves, however, he would struggle over the next month. He would head to the DL and lose the closer role. He would not return for long as he would once again be injured and back on the DL in August. Vizcaíno made 43 appearances in 2016 but struggled with injuries that caused a 4.42 ERA. However, the peripherals were at 3.07 xERA, 3.66 FIP, 3.99 xFIP, & 3.92 SIERA which gave confidence he would bounce back.

Vizcaíno pitched well for the Braves in 2017 and 2018:

  • 2017: 62 games, 57.1 innings- 2.83 ERA, 3.60 xERA, 3.72 FIP, 4.21 xFIP, 3.56 SIERA, 1.10 WHIP, 27.2% strikeout rate, & 8.9% walk rate
  • 2018: 39 games, 38.1 innings- 2.11 ERA, 3.87 xERA, 3.76 FIP, 4.21 xFIP, 3.72 SIERA, 1.17 WHIP, 25.3% strikeout rate, & 9.5% walk rate

While he pitched well, 2018 was more of the same where Vizcaíno kept experiencing nagging injuries. Missing significant time with injuries. The same could also be said for his 2019 season, as he was placed on the injured list 3 weeks into the season with a shoulder issue. He would need surgery on his right labrum on April 17th, 2019 and be forced to miss the remained of the season.

It would also end his second tenure with the Braves.

Another Trade for Arodys Vizcaíno

On May 20th, 2019 the Braves would send Vizcaíno and Jesse Biddle to the Seattle Mariners for Anthony Swarzak and cash. Vizcaíno had obviously undergone season ending surgery and would never pitch for the Mariners. He would become a free agent following 2019.

He did not pitch in 2020 but would find work for 2021. On November 4th, 2020 he signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. He only made 7 appearances for the AAA club and was once again a free agent heading into 2022.

The Kansas City Royals signed Vizcaíno to a minor league deal on January 13th, 2022. He would get an opportunity to once again pitch in the major leagues. However, in his 5.2 innings across 7 games, he did not play well. This resulted in him heading back to AAA and once again into free agency.

He is currently unsigned heading into the 2023 season. However, he has been pitching this winter. He has been with the Tigers del Licey of the Caribbean Series.

An Injury Riddled Career Slows Down Arodys Vizcaíno

One cannot help but wonder where Vizcaíno’s career ends up if he can stay healthy. The injury to his elbow and shoulder hampered his career and never allowed him to ever consistently get his footing in the major leagues.

He was once looked at as one of the best starting pitching prospects in baseball. Baseball America predicted following his 2009 season that he would be the Yankees 4th starter by 2013. The elbow made it to where he could not handle a starter’s workload.

He then looked like a promising backend reliever. The constant arm and shoulder issues prevented that.

Now, we look at a guy just trying to get another shot somewhere. Will he get it? Not sure. He is an example of how not even the most promising prospect is a guarantee.

As we close the book on the prospect review of Arodys Vizcaíno, we finally see the pinnacle of our review of the 2012 Atlanta Braves prospects. Up next, we finally review the top prospect from 2012, Julio Teheran.