Let’s take a ride in the way-back machine – back in the summer of 2008 when Niko Vasquez made his huge introduction to professional baseball with a .410 wOBA in short season Johnson City all while playing shortstop. Needless to say, there was a shortage of paper bags around Cardinal Nation. But with a 149 wRC+ (which is league and park adjusted) – there was reason for excitement. Unfortunately, Vasquez has not come close to replicating those numbers any year since.
After a terrible 2009, he bounced back for a quality 2010 in Palm Beach and Quad Cities, but his 2011 season so far in Springfield is looking more like 2009 than 2010 after 93 plate appearances. Vasquez is hitting a lot of ground balls – a 56.7% clip, which contributes to his very low BABIP of .259. So far he is still striking out a lot as he usually does, but his walks are down slightly. That all being said a slash line of 205/280/349 is not going to get him anywhere fast, especially since he is only playing 3rd base at this point. wRC+ has him at 58 at this point.
In the late summer of 2008, Vasquez gave us something to be excited about and we are still looking for his name again and again, trying to recapture that magic. It is still WAY early in 2011, but we haven’t seen the Vasquez we are looking for playing in the hitters friendly AA Texas League.