Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2021: Alexander Vizcaino (RHP, #9)
It would seem crazy to call a 23-year-old prospect, especially one who grades out in the Top-10 of a solid farm system to still be incredibly raw. However, that is the case with Alexander Vizcaino. After taking nearly 3 seasons to escape rookie-level ball and signing as a 19-year-old international talent, he had a break-out 2019 season and has been improving across the board after a 2020 season at the alternate site. He’ll need to show 2019 was not a fluke, but his fastball and changeup should help him reach the MLB, though I’d expect it to be as a reliever given the necessary improvements needed for his 3rd pitch (a slider).
Is Alexander Vizcaino the next New York Yankees pitcher to work his way onto the RailRiders? Here are some of his best moments from 2019! #DontMissIt pic.twitter.com/OT8dRallSo — SWB RailRiders (@swbrailriders) January 12, 2021
ALEXANDER VIZCAINO, RHP (#9):
Age/Date of Birth: 23 Years Old (05/22/1997)
Most Recent Team(s) (Level and Year): Tampa Tarpons (Class-A+, 2019); Charleston RiverDogs (Class-A, 2019)
Most Recent Yearly Statistics (2019): 6-6 Record, 4.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 115.0 Innings, 128 Strikeouts, 38 Walks, (21 Games, 21 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 6’2”/160 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the Yankees as part of the 2015/2016 International Free Agent Class in mid-March 2015.
MLB ETA: 2022
ALEXANDER VIZCAINO SCOUTING GRADES (20-80 SCALE):
What to Know:
Coming out of the Dominican Republic, the Yankees found Alexander Vizcaino and signed him for a $14,000 bonus in May of 2016. This is understandably a small amount for a signing bonus to a player who had promising tools, but there was one major factor going against him: his age. While the Yankees have a plethora of minor league talent they got by taking older international prospects, Vizcaino didn’t sign until he was 19 years old! (To put this into perspective, the typical prospect signs at 16 years old.)
Luckily, the Yankees were able to get Vizcaino playing in his signing season, though he didn’t impress in the Dominican Summer League with the Yankees 1. He lost all 5 games where he got a decision, and starting 6 of 11 games played to a 4.89 ERA.
The next season (2017) Vizcaino would spend with the Pulaski Yankees (Rookie, Appalachian League) where he wouldn’t necessarily impress again. He pitched to a 5.79 ERA over 12 games (11 starts) and found himself on the losing end of 5 games to just 3 wins.
It took until 2018 for Vizcaino to escape rookie ball…although he did so for just one game with the Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League, Class A). While repeating a level with Pulaski, Vizcaino again pitched to a high ERA at 5.12, though it was the first season he would record a non-losing record at 3-3 over his 11 games (11 starts). In his one game at Charleston, he would start, going 4 innings while allowing 6 runs (13.50 ERA).
2019 was a much better season for Vizcaino, then 22 years old, as he spent the whole year in Class-A ball with the Charleston RiverDogs (16 games) and the Tampa Tarpons (Class A+, Florida State League, 5 games). During the season, Vizcaino would finally showcase that he was a better pitcher than he was showing, although was still a step behind when looking at this stats: 4.38 ERA over the season (4.41 with Charleston, 4.28 with Tampa), though he pitched over 100 innings for the first time (115.0). After signing very late as an international prospect and after taking nearly 3 seasons to escape rookie ball, finally started to show what he was able to do in 2019 as he started to master his fastball and changeup that season.
For the 2020 season, Vizcaino was given a place at the Yankees alternate site, but he did not make any appearances with the MLB team. However, he did earn his way to the 40-man roster last November.
As of the time of this article, Vizcaino has yet to make an appearance in the 2021 season, though he is slated to do so with the Hudson Valley Renegades (Class A+, High-A East League).
Vizcaino has saved a perspective career recently and definitely found himself lucky to work at the Yankees alternate site during the 2020 season, of which has definitely helped. He controls a fastball that sits between 94-98 MPH and can touch triple digits along with a changeup in the low 90’s that occasionally plays more as a splitter. However, his low-80’s slider is the pitch in his arsenal that needs some work.
When it comes to his mechanics, Vizcaino still needs more refinement on his command and control if he wants to see a future as a starter. However, after the 2019 breakout and emergence of two solid pitches, he now has a pretty solid floor as a MLB reliever.
What Will the Future Hold?
Alexander Vizcaino through years of being seen as out-of-place, was able to find himself performing at the right time to earn the good graces of the Yankees, make his way into the alternate site, and onto the 40-man roster. Starting the season at High-A Hudson Valley, Vizcaino should be a solid candidate to reach Double-A Somerset around mid-season. At this point, we’re just waiting for him to pitch in 2021.
With an MLB ETA of 2022, it would seem likely to happen even though Vizcaino has yet to pitch above A-ball. However, it is clear the Yankees are willing to be aggressive with the older prospect and with a bullpen floor it is likely he finds his way there (at least) in 2022. Personally, I’m not incredibly high on Vizcaino given the still poor numbers though, it is hard to pass judgement with very little video on him since the 2019 season and a lack of 2021 footage/stats to analyze.