Today, I will start a segment that will take a brief look at each player on the 40 man roster. I will start each with a look at their career to date, injury history, proceed to where they currently stand in the organization, derive their service time and option information, and finally look to their future as Detroit Tigers. Today we will start with pitcher Yorman Bazardo.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Venezuela on July 19, 2000, by Dave Dombrowski's Florida Marlins, Bazardo did not debut until 2001 in the Venezuelan Summer League. As a kid just turning 17, he pitched very well in his 70 1/3 innings of work posting an ERA of 2.43, striking out 62, walking just 18, and only allowing 59 hits. It was former Marlins scout, now Tigers scout Miguel Garcia who discovered Bazardo.
2002 found Bazardo moved to the bullpen for the Short Season A Affiliate of the Marlins in Jamestown. Again, he showed great command in his 36.1 innings, walking only 6 and posting a 2.72 ERA. He moved onto A-ball at the age of 19 in Greensboro, again only walking 26 in 130 innings, but only striking out 70. He posted a solid 3.12 ERA and allowed his first professional home runs during this season. After the season, Baseball America ranked him #5 in the Marlins system.
Bazardo continued to climb the ladder to the Florida State League in 2004, and again did not disappoint. In 154 1/3 innings, he posted a 3.27 ERA, walking only 30. He impressed so much, he was named the third best prospect in the Marlins organization after the season. Being Rule 5 eligible after the season, he was added to the Marlins' 40 man roster.
2005 found more success for this young pitcher. Turning 21 midway through the season, he put up a 3.99 ERA at AA Carolina, earning a one-day promotion to the Marlins before being shipped to Seattle in a deal for reliever Ron Villone. Bazardo spent a year and a half in the hitter friendly Texas league with less impressive results before the Mariners designated him for assignment in 2007 to make room for Jeff Weaver. This enabled the Tigers to pick him up for struggling outfielder Jeff Frazier.
2007 got off to an inauspicious start for Yorman, as he was rocked in his first start. Ultimately, he settled down and pitched well both in Toledo's rotation and in his brief stay with the big club. Continuing his long-standing trend of low walk totals, low strikeouts, and a low ERA, Bazardo has positioned himself nicely for a shot in 2008.
It has been seven years since he signed his first professional contract, and Bazardo has never been on the Disabled list. He has as clean of a bill of health as any pitcher in the system.
2005: 1 day
2007: 44 days
Total: 0 years, 45 days (0.045)
Used options in 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Age vs. career clock:
The acquisition of Yorman Bazardo from Seattle, and his ability to progress from waiver bate into the 2008 plans makes the trade for flailing former third round pick Jeff Frazier an exceptional one as is. Bazardo's status as a player in his early 20's running out of options made the deal doable, and the ability of Dave Dombrowski to exploit that status as a cheap pickup shows that he is able to recognize the gap between age and career clock for many Latin players.
It is widely assumed that players on the whole improve mightily in their early 20's and peak around 27, level off until around 30, and fall off afterwards. A conceptual graph showing typical career progress is shown below. Obviously most players don't follow this trend, and not all players are equal.
The graph is obviously not taken from any particular set of data, and is primarily for illustration purposes only. The next chart shows career progress for players based not on their age, but instead on their professional timeline. You can see where players who sign at 16 will have to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft and will run out of options earlier. Rather than protect them, some teams will be impatient and make them available on the cheap. When teams are willing to give young players away before they reach their potential because of the disconnect between age and career clock, it becomes something that can be exploited. The Tigers did that in acquiring Bazardo last winter. This is something I may look further at later if I see any trends in how these players are valued.
Bazardo has the combination of playing well in 2007, proving himself in his cup of coffee, and being out of options that pretty much assures him of a spot on the 2008 Detroit Tigers. What role he has will depend upon which role he is needed to fill. With a pitching staff having more question marks than Matthew Lesko's wardrobe, Bazardo should settle in and pitch well regardless of if it is as a starter, swingman, or back of the bullpen pitcher. At just 23 with durability, a solid track record, and a quality arsenal, Yorman Bazardo is one of the most underrated players in the Tigers' organization.