Reader Mikhel asked us about Jorge Vazquez in our Brandon Laird post from the other day, and I have to admit: prior to doing the research I knew even less about Vazquez than I did about Laird.
Per B-Ref, the burly righthanded hitter broke into the Mexican League -- which is at the AAA level -- in 2000 at age 19, and though he started out slowly during his first few seasons, he broke out in a huge way in 2005 (his age 23 season), posting a fearsome .379/.413/.796 line in 71 games. He followed that campaign up with three more huge years in the Mexican League before signing with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season.
Here's a graph of Vazquez's Mexican League and Yankees minor league stats:
Even with the expected adjustment period going from the Mexican League to the American minor leagues, Vazquez really barely experienced a dropoff at Trenton, raking to a .329/.357/.578, .414 wOBA line in the Eastern League in 2009, and following that up with a .270/.313/.526 line in 316 Scranton plate appearances this past season.
While the slugging is nice, the OBP leaves quite a bit to be desired. The Minor League Equivalency calculator converts Vazquez's 2010 line to .234/.273/.438 -- similar to what the MLE had for Laird, only with slightly less OBP and more power. However, THT's Oliver projection system has Vazquez's 2011 MLB equivalent line as .279/.323/.511, .354 wOBA and 1.4 WAR over 480 plate appearances. Considering that he's never come anywhere close to that number of PAs in his career, his WAR is probably more realistically around 0.5, though the triple slash doesn't seem out of the question. Additionally, Oliver has Laird's 2011 wOBA as .331, so it could end up being Vazquez who gets the first call if a bench bat is needed from the minors.
As you can see, Vazquez has done nothing but hit for much of his professional career. He's taken most of his reps at first and third base, but as you know, the Yankees don't exactly have impending openings at either position. No spring chicken, it would seem that Vazquez could play the Juan Miranda role this year if he starts the season out hot in Scranton, but he'll need to significantly improve that OBP if he has any intention of getting an extended shot at the Major League level.