Sep 21, 2015

New Jersey Born Italian / American Player: Vinny Mazzaro (2009-2014)

Vincent Michael Mazzaro was born on September 27, 1986 in Hackensack, New Jersey. He grew up in the shadow of the Meadowlands & Giants Stadium, attending East Rutherford High School where he pitched his high school to two straight championships.

In 2005 the six foot two, right handed pitcher was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the third round. After winning nine games twice at the A ball level he was promoted to AA where went 12-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 2008. He was promoted to AAA Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League going 3-3 then making the A’s big league staff in 2009.

He made his MLB debut in June and won his first start, pitching into the 7th inning in Chicago allowing no runs on three hits to the White Sox. He won his next start against Baltimore as well, this time pitching into the 8th inning allowing no runs on 5 hits, with 4 strike outs, in Oakland.

From there he struggled losing his next eight decisions, before winning at Kansas City & Baltimore in early August. He closed out his rookie year at 4-9 with a 5.32 ERA. 

He set a strange record that season, having four plate appearances without recording a single at bat. In each case he safely sacrificed. The old record of three PA belonged to former Mets pitcher Dwight Bernard.

In 2010 he began the year 2-0 although his ERA was near five in early June. He had a good July winning four straight decisions lowering his ERA to 3.45. But then again he suffered a rough losing streak, dropping seven of eight games. He was 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA before getting sent back down to the minors in early September.
In November Mazzaro was traded to the Kansas City Royals for David Dejesus.

In his Royals debut, he earned no decision in a May 11th outing against the AL New York club. The Royals went on to win the game 4-3. On June 12th he pitched seven shut out innings against the L.A. Angels earning his first & only win of the year. By mid June he was 1-1 with an ERA over ten & was sent back down. Mazzaro was successful at AAA Omaha going 7-2 striking out 107 batters in 123 innings, returning for a September call up.

In 2012 he began the year with the Royals starting out at 2-0 beating good Texas & Oakland teams. He fell to 3-3 with a 6.12 ERA in mid Juluy & was sent back down to AAA Omaha. He returned in September to finish 4-3 with a 5.73 ERA in 18 appearances. In November he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates with Clint Robinson for two minor leaguers.

In 2013 he is having his best season with the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates who have been in first place most of the summer. On April 24th he earned his first win. coming against the Philadelphia Phillies.

In May he earned two more wins to get him to 3-0. At the start of June his ERA was under two, but he suffered two losses in the middle of the month, coming to the Los Angeles Dodgers & Cincinnati Reds, as his ERA went over three. Mazzaro moved on & continued to pitch well for Clint Hurdle's bullpen.

On July 12th he pitched against the New York Mets, earning the win, when Jordy Mercer singled off Gonzales Germen, to score Andrew McCutchen with the walk off winning run.

On July 30th he pitched a scoreless 11th inning, earning his sixth win in an important game against the St. Louis Cardinals, keeping the Pirates 1 1/2 games in front of the Cards. In August he pitched well in relief, allowing just one run in ten appearances while earning a hold. 

On September 1st he did allow a run, but earned a win in two innings of relief at Milwaukee. He ended the year with a win at Cincinnati on September 28th, the Pirates swept the series & won a wild card playoff spot. On October 1st, they beat the Reds in Pittsburgh advancing to the NLDS.

Post Season: Mazzaro saw action in three post season games, allowing no runs on no hits with two strike outs in 1.2 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2014 he has spent most of the season pitching at AAA Indianapolis with just five games at the MLB level with the Pirates in May.

In 2015 he pitched most of the year at the minors, but appeared in ten games for the Miami Marlins. In July he was picked by the Atlanta Braves organization.

Trivia: He holds the record for most plate appearances in a single season without an at bat, with four. In 2009, he had four plate appearances but hit sacrifices in each. The old record belonged to Dwight Bernard of the 1979 Mets

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