As the New York Yankees prepare to kick off a new series against the San Diego Padres Friday night, one of their top prospects prepares for his first taste of the big leagues.
Randy Vásquez, a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher currently ranked 12th in the Yankees farm system by MLB.com, is slated to start Friday night in the Bronx after 77 career minor league appearances across all levels. Until this week, Vásquez had never attended a Major League game. Now he'll get a chance to strut his stuff in front of tens of thousands.
The 6-foot hurler spent all of 2022 at the Double-A level with the Somerset Patriots, going 2-7 with a 3.90 ERA over 115.1 innings, compiling 120 strikeouts and 40 walks. Vásquez was promoted up to Triple-A for the 2023 season where he's gone 1-5 in nine starts with a 4.85 ERA over 42.2 innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"Vásquez is athletic and has a clean delivery," MLB.com's report of the Navarette, Dominican Republic native entails. "Vásquez owns the nastiest curveball in the system, combining low-80s power with vertical and horizontal movement produced by spin rates that top 3,100 rpm. His low arm slot imparts difficult induced vertical break on four-seam fastballs that park at 93-95 mph and reach 100."
An early highlight of Vásquez's young career occurred in the decisive game of Somerset's 2022 Eastern League title a season ago. Vásquez fired eight hitless innings against the Erie SeaWolves striking out eight and allowing just a single base runner via one lone walk. It was an unforgettable performance on the way to an eventual 15-0 romp by the Patriots, clinching the team's first ever Eastern League championship.
"When I was warming up in the bullpen, I was hitting all of my spots, so I knew I was going to have something good," Vásquez told the media via translator after the game. "Right after the fifth inning, I knew I had it going on."
Vásquez will take on a Padres lineup that has scuffled out of the gates this season, entering play Friday night with the third-worst team OPS in the National League (.703). San Diego (23-27) currently sits 7.5 games out of first place in the West, trailing the Dodgers (31-20), Diamondbacks (29-21) and Giants (25-25) in their division.
The Yankees will be looking to bounce back after dropping two out of three to the visiting Orioles earlier in the week, but despite that recent bump, the Bombers own the best record in baseball since May 2 with 15 wins in their last 22 games.
Friday's series opener between the Yankees and Padres can be seen on Apple TV+, with the final two games airing Saturday and Sunday on YES Network.