In the 2010 season, The Los Angeles Angels had a top ten AL pitcher in their rotation.  ..."/> In the 2010 season, The Los Angeles Angels had a top ten AL pitcher in their rotation.  ..."/>

A Top Ten Pitcher!


In the 2010 season, The Los Angeles Angels had a top ten AL pitcher in their rotation.  The pitcher… none other than Scott Kazmir.

Now, what were the five categories you ask?

Well let’s see, first there was Hit By Pitch.  In 2010, only two pitchers in the American League hit more batters than Scott.  He ranked 3rd in the entire league with 12 hit batsmen, eight of which he nailed in games that resulted in a loss for Kaz and the halos.

Clearly Scott’s control and command of the zone was an issue last year, as can be seen in top ten ranking #2 for Scott, Bases On Balls.  Kazmir struggled to find the plate last season, placing him 6th atop the list of pitchers with the most free passes issued in 2010 (79).  What is perhaps even more concerning than his number of walks is the strikeout to walk ratio that just seemed to tank last season.

Scott Kazmir is among the top 50 active pitchers in baseball with a 2.099 K/BB ratio (44th), and yet in his 15 losses last year, that ratio dropped to 0.89.  It’s clear to me that Kazmir still has the potential to be a punchout pitcher, but when he’s on he is on… and when he’s cold, the Angels record gets a bit frigid.  It should also be noted that in the 9 wins that Kazmir recorded in 2010, his K/BB ratio was 1.61, almost double that of games that he lost.

In addition to these 24 games, Scott also pitched in 4 games last year where he did not figure into the decision.  In those 4 outings he averaged 6.9 K/9 and had a 1.42 K/BB ratio, so he is still clearly capable of winning, as long as he’s hitting his spots.  It’s not a matter of whether or not he can throw strikes, its whether or not he can throw them consistently.

The third (dubious) top ten finish for Kazmir was in Earned Runs.  In 2010, he placed ninth in the American League giving up 99 earned runs in 28 games.  The math is easy on this one… if you put people on base, and you can’t seem to strike anyone out anymore, then eventually someone is going to hit the ball, and those runners you put on base are going to score.  Fix the walks, fix the control, and I’m pretty certain that you will fix the earned runs.

Now, it has been talked about that Kazmir’s velocity is down this year, and I don’t think it would shock anyone if I said that he is never going to get it back.  Scott has spent too much time trying to learn how to become a better pitcher, that he has tweaked his game and his delivery to the point of no return.  By that, I mean there is no return on the investment anymore.  He has completely lost his command, his power is no longer there, and the ball just keeps looking bigger and bigger to every team he faces.

Case and point, Scott (this is award #4 by the way) was 7th in the AL in 2010 in the “Giving up Bombs” department, also known as Homeruns.  Twenty five times last season Kazmir flung a meatball over the plate and let the batter turn it into a protein filled firework.  17 of those 25 were launched into orbit during games that resulted in a loss.  Moral of the story, don’t walk people, don’t give up the big fly, and you stand a better chance of winning!

The fifth and final “award” for Kazmir is of course the most concerning… Scott had more Losses than all but one pitcher in the AL last season (15).  There is not much more that I even need to say about that.  With a record of 9-15, the 2010 season marked the worst on record for Scott Kazmir since his breakthrough to the majors in 2004.  He has had some pretty impressive lines over the last seven years, where he has done everything from lead the league in strikeouts (239 in 2007) to lead the league in walks (100 in 2005).  The Angels definitely have a Top Ten pitcher on their hands, the question is… which Scott Kazmir are you going to see this year?  Only time will tell… something Scott may not have much of left!