arodys vizcaino cubsArodys Vizcaino is taking the next step in his very gradual, very methodical return to the big leagues.

After a Spring 2012 Tommy John surgery, a Spring 2013 setback, and a mid-2013 bone spur surgery, the 23-year-old righty has been working regularly – but spaced out – in warm Florida with the High-A Daytona Cubs. While his ability probably dictates he pitch at a much higher level (the big leagues, at some point), the Cubs have wanted to be very cautious with one of the few impact arms in their system.

The next step starts today, as Sean Kernan reports that Vizcaino has been promoted to the AA Tennessee Smokies. At High-A, Vizcaino was understandably not challenged, posting a 1.00 ERA over 9 innings of work, striking out 10 and walking 4. At Tennessee, he’ll continue to work regularly, and it’s possible he’ll see AAA after another month of regular, monitored work. As I’ve said as far back as early February, this is absolutely the right approach with Vizcaino, who could wind up logging time in the big leagues in the second half of the year (when his arm is ready for it, and when service time considerations fall by the wayside).

Given his surgeries and past durability concerns, Vizcaino is probably going to be a reliever long-term, but he could be one of the few seriously impactful ones. That’s a guy you want to keep healthy, and keep under control, for as long as possible. I can’t wait to continue following his ascent.

Taking place on the Daytona Cubs’ roster is reliever Zach Godley, featured by Luke just this morning – wherein Luke had the foresight to ponder why Godley hadn’t yet been promoted, given how absurdly well he was pitching for Kane County. Well, there you go. Read Luke’s piece for more on an intriguing reliever in the Cubs’ system.

(Aside: this is probably just a one-off promotion situation, tied to Vizcaino’s specific plan. But it’s got me itchy for promotion season. Hopefully there will be more moves coming soon, because, hey, it’s fun to follow.)

  • CubFan Paul

    Armando Rivero to Iowa or Chicago should happen soon too.

    • ced landrum

      I have a hard time seeing Rivero in Chicago yet. The bullpen is stacked and actually Iowa’s is too. With Veras hopefully getting his crap together it is just going to get more crowded. I wouldn’t mind if Rivero got a chance though. In fact I think the Cubs should demote Grimm and have him start stretching out for when they trade Hammel or Shark.

      • Spoda17

        I too would like to see them stretch our Grimm.

        I know it is regularly reported that the Cubs have little MLB impact pitching… I actually think the Cubs have more pitching than we realize.

        • Chad

          Agreed. One good thing is that I don’t think we will see the cubs sign too many FA bullpen arms in the future. They have plenty of home grown ones that can be interchangeable.

        • SenorGato

          Most of it is BOR or bullpen. Not a bad idea, I think the bullpen has a lot of long term potential with the arms in the system. I’m way less excited about the rotation arms, especially since McDonalds didn’t turn Edwards into the physical freak fans thought it would.

  • Aaron

    Pardon my ignorance, but how do you pronounce his first name?

    • Thomas

      I believe its A-row-dis. Like Aroldis Chapman but without the L.

      • Aaron

        Nice. Thanks!

        • CubbiesOHCubbies

          just like its spelled….. Arodys

          • Melrosepad

            From Baseball-Reference:

            ah-ROH-dis vees-kai-EE-no

          • http://BleacherNation blewett

            I actually asked him in person at the Cubs Convention and yes, it sounds just like it’s spelled. More like ah-ROH-dees, though, if I heard him correctly.

  • BlameHendry

    Not thrilled with the decision to not even give him a chance to start in the minors, just throwing him straight into the bullpen. He obviously has a lot more value as a starter, and if he’s really gonna be up in the second half of the season, we could let him replace Hammel after we flip him.

    • Head and Heart

      The guy has arm issues. Starting him now would be a terrible idea. Let him ease his way back in. Build up arm strength. Have success. No need to rush him to the majors either. There is no reason he couldn’t transition back to a starter sometime down the line. Shark did it after a really good season out of the pen.

      • willis

        I think playing it this way this season is the right move. Let’s see if he can get through a whole year of relieving in one piece. And, IF he does, then maybe this Winter/Spring we can have the conversation about him stretching back out. I’ve always seen him as a power reliever because his injury history. But, if he shows healthy this season I’d have no issue with the FO giving him a chance to show he can start again. Just not this year.

  • Nate

    What are the service time considerations with Vizcaino? I thought his clock had started in 2011. How does it work with an extended absence due to injury?

    • bbmoney

      He’s accruing service time as we speak (type). He’ll be eligible for arbitration next year having only pitched in 17 MLB games in 2011. I believe If you go on the DL when you’re on the 25 man (which he did) you accrue service time while rehabbing.

      So he probably won’t make much in his arb years. But it puts him closer to FA.

      • Brocktoon

        That only applies to 60 day DL, and Vizcaino was optioned out this season, he isn’t on a rehab stint

        If we keep him down until mid-late June we’ll have control over him through the 2017 season. Assuming he’s called up by say ~mid-August, he’ll be a super 2 arb next year.

    • Brett

      Check the link (about back in February) for a more complete explanation.

  • Beast Mode

    Does anyone know how many types of pitches Vizcaino can throw.

    • smackafilieyo

      At least one, haha…j/k

    • Jason P

      Fastball, curveball, and changeup. The former 2 are definite plus pitches and the third is at least average.

      I hope he eventually finds his way into a starting rotation, but it would have to be a few years down the road.

      • willis

        Right, in my opinion the best we should be realistically hoping for is a healthy 2014 campaign. After that, take a hard look at what to do with him. IF healthy, worst case scenario he’s a dynamite set up man. Although that holds less value than a starter, I’d rather that than his elbow blowing to bits again.