Breaking Down The Carlos Villanueva Acquisition

Courtesy of Bleacher Report

According to the team’s official site, the Blue Jays have acquired right-handed reliever Carlos Villanueva from the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later.

As someone who follows the Brewers in the National League, I have mixed thoughts about this move, after seeing Villanueva struggle many times for the Crew last season. Villanueva had fallen out of favour in Milwaukee, and was surprisingly demoted to Triple-A midway through the season before being recalled when the rosters expanded in September. That being said, although unannounced, it’s very hard to complain about what the Jays had to give up to get him, as usually players to be named later are usually nothing spectacular. Time will tell.

Carlos Villanueva has shown flashes of brilliance, and a change of scenery could do him well. Add exposure to more players from his native Dominican Republic on the Jays, and Villanueva could be another potential steal by GM Alex Anthopoulos.

For those that don’t know Carlos V, he has a four pitch repertoire: fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. His changeup is primarily his “out” pitch besides his fastball. He has a tendency of leaving the ball high in the zone at times, and posted his lowest ground ball rate of his career in 2010 (33.8%). A fresh start with a new club, along with the tutelage of the Jays staff, should help address this issue somewhat.

Villanueva had experience as a starter earlier in his career with the Brewers, but went back to his full-time relief role in 2010. He posted a 4.61 ERA in 52.2 innings, to go along with a 8.2 H/9, 3.8 BB/9, and a high 11.4 K/9.

The potential to be a power pitcher is there, and his xFIP of 3.39 suggests that he was the victim of some bad luck in 2010.

He’s entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, and made only $950k last season. He represents yet another low cost, high reward pickup by Anthopoulos, and partly addresses the Jays bullpen right away.

-JM

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Topics: Alex Anthopoulos, Carlos Villaneuva, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • Mat Germain

    Not exactly the deal with the Brewers I was looking for, but it does show the two teams are “cordially” dealing with one another, which bodes well for future deals. The interesting thing here is that he is cheaper than Brian Tallet and may be taking on that long relief role along with David Purcey.

    Jared, do you happen to know whether or not he has options remaining? I’ve looked around and haven’t been able to confirm it. If he does have options remaining, the Jays just got deeper AND more flexible in terms of the look of their 2011 pen. It’s not a huge move, but I agree with you that it has the usual upside Alex looks for.

  • http://www.jayjournal.com Jared Macdonald

    By my calculations, Villanueva has one of his three options remaining.

    He was called up in 2006, sent down for only 2 games in 2007 before being recalled again, and unfortunately sent down for 11 games in 2010.

    Other splits that are interesting that I forgot to mention about Villanueva:

    - he’s marginally better vs. lefties than righties

    - opponents have hit just .172/.236/.280 against him when he has two strikes in the count

    - he’s at his best on 3-4 days rest

    - when in a relief role, opponents have a .169 BA seeing him for a 2nd time in a game