Thoughts on Villarreal

There is an article in today’s AJC discussing the potential of newly-acquired reliever Oscar Villarreal. Everyone seems to be really high on the prospect of a healthy return to his rookie-season form.

Despite his recent arm problems, the Braves saw enough last season, when he allowed eight hits in 11 innings in September after coming back from the shoulder injury. They believed he could help their revamped bullpen, an opinion reinforced by reports from the Mexican winter league.

“We made the trade based on our scouting,” general manager John Schuerholz said. “Not only what our scouts saw last year, but in the past, before his arm woes from the use/abuse that happened to him a couple years ago.

This thing is, who is more likely to have better information about him? A Braves scout or the D-backs, who had direct access to him and all of his medical records. My guess is O.V.—that’s what I’ll call him— will make a few appearances, pitch mediocre, and head to the DL. And that will be the end of that. He might turn out to be something great, but this Villareal for closer talk is nonsense this early. Right now, I think Lance Cormier—the other pitcher in the Estrada deal—intrigues me more. He is the type of guy the Braves turn around.

2 Responses “Thoughts on Villarreal”

  1. Andrew says:

    JC, the Braves have also recently become intrigued by relief pitchers similar to Villareal–Juan Cruz and Jorge Sosa. Or at least I think they are similar (electric stuff, no where near full potential). Probably something I am missing though.

  2. JC says:

    Yes, but neither of these pitchers were injury cases. Cruz was an underachiever, and Sosa just sucked. I’m not saying O.V. won’t become good, but I think it’s a stretch for people to get excited about him this early. If he was capable of being legitimate MLB closer™ in 2005, I doubt the D-Backs would have given him up (even straight-up) for Estrada.

    Overall, this is when I start worrying about the loss of Leo. At least I had some confidence that pitchers like Cormier and Remlinger could become solid bullpen contributors.