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The Detroit Tigers have obtained Houston Astros closer, Jose Veras, for minor league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later. Veras, 32, has been around the league since 2006 and has six years of experience playing in the American League. It wasn’t until this year that Veras became a full time closer, however, it will not last long with Tigers manager Jim Leyland who has already stated that he plans to use Veras as a setup man.

The Astros are receiving a much different type of player in Vasquez who is only 19 years old with two years of minor league experience already under his belt. Vasquez will most likely not reach the big leagues for a couple years, but according to the Astros Twitter account, Jon Mayo of's draft specialist team has Vasquez ranked as the Tigers #4 prospect.

The Tigers will be getting a pitcher with great command of his curveball and a prominent sinker ball thrower in Veras. Veras has a deceptive curveball with batters whiffing at 38% (MLB Avg: 26%), a quick sinker coming in at an average 93.2 mph and an average splitter. Pitch calling will most likely be different with the Tigers, especially considering that Veras seems to fall into trends while on the mound. Although 55% of his pitchers are sinkers, most are thrown with no strikes or with three balls. As Veras starts to get deeper into counts, his pitching patterns start to show.

0-1: Curveball 47% (MLB Avg: 13%)
0-2: Curveball 78% (MLB Avg: 16%)
1-1: Curveball 45% (MLB Avg: 11%)
1-2: Curveball 78% (MLB Avg: 17%)
2-2: Curveball 54% (MLB Avg: 12%)

0-2: Curveball 94% (MLB Avg: 18%)
1-2: Curveball 76% (MLB Avg: 17%)
2-2: Curveball 52% (MLB Avg: 14%)

In addition to pitch patterns, Veras throws his sinker high in the strike zone, especially to left-handed batters, and his curveball low in the strike zone. The release point for his curveball is only slightly higher than that of his sinker and splitter, but there is a significant difference in the height of the ball when crossing the plate.

With only 19 saves so far in 2013, Veras shows great control of his curveball. He throws it with an 11-5 break and creates 63% more spin than the MLB average. His sinker has also been successful in creating 10 of his 13 popup outs in 43 innings pitched, with 9 of those being to left-handed batters. With one of the fastest sinkers in the league coming in between 92-94 mph, batters have swung and missed 15% of the time (MLB Avg: 10%).

Up to this point, the Tigers have been short an arm in their bullpen and Veras can be a key asset to relieving the stress on starting pitchers. With a 2.5 game lead currently on the Cleveland Indians, the Tigers are rounding out their roster for another shot at the World Series. Current Tigers closer, Joaquin Benoit, has not lost his job, but will now have added pressure with the addition of Veras in the bullpen.

NOTE: All statistics accurate as of 7/29/13
By Danny Malter