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  1. Even in his start in Minnesota, the gun was reading between 91-94 on his fastball, and of course this is even better. I wonder if now that he seems to have improved his control as well if his best years are yet to come.

    Comment by Turbo Sloth — May 10, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  2. It truly is an inspiring comeback and a great story. I still have to wonder how long he can hold up though.

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — May 10, 2013 @ 11:56 am

  3. Anyone have any idea how this happened? I haven’t followed Kazmir much since like 2006. Injury problems? A 10mph decrease and then increase back up to 96 is pretty incredible.

    Comment by Spacelord — May 10, 2013 @ 11:56 am

  4. I think we all know how this happened…

    Good for him though, hopefully he keeps pitching like this for my fantasy team.

    Comment by Frank — May 10, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

  5. Yeah, witchcraft is some serious shit.

    Comment by Jaack — May 10, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  6. You must be in an AL Central only league with 12 managers to have room for Kazmir at this point.

    Comment by BJsWorld — May 10, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  7. That or a Dynasty League with 24 or more owners….like some of us. This guy is very pleased to have signed him a FA this offseason.

    Comment by Ty Cobb — May 10, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

  8. Wait, I finally fixed Victor Zambrano.

    Comment by Rick Peterson — May 10, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

  9. I think it is too easy to assume something fishy is going on with Kazmir and his return regarding PEDs.

    However, if I had my money on anything, it would be the few years off from pitching to recover strength in his arm. I bet that is probably a huge reason he has gained his velocity back. Kazmir has always said he has pitched in pain. I have to imagine that only gets worse over time without an extended break that he has essentially had now.

    Comment by Cody — May 10, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

  10. Did he have an extended break though? I thought he pitched (poorly) last year in independent ball, and he also pitched in winter ball. I have no idea how many innings he through, but he’s been throwing throughout the year.

    Comment by vivalajeter — May 10, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  11. In that motion picture “The Rookie” (I think), isn’t that what happened to the guy in real life? After however many years of not pitching, his velocity just returned? My understanding is that it can and does work that way, more often than you might think. The arm does regenerate. Just nobody with a career behind them bothers to keep at it long enough.

    Jim Palmer claimed the same that I recall in his comeback bid, but by age 46 or whatever it exactly was he no longer had the leg drive and flexibility and other parts of the entire package needed.

    Comment by Richie — May 10, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

  12. 10 team AL only… took him on a flyer in the late rounds of an auction. I probably didn’t need him for $2 next year, but maybe that will look good.

    Comment by mr — May 10, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

  13. that first graph is terrible.

    Comment by LandoRaysFan — May 10, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  14. No you’re terrible.

    OHHHHH!!!! Hitch a ride on the back of that paddy wagon and alert the hospital ward cuz you just got burned!!!!

    Comment by Blofkin — May 10, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  15. I believe the deal with Kazmir’s problems with his velocity, was that it was less physical than mechanical. He had some leg and arm injuries and his mechanics got out of whack. I don’t think it has as much to do with arm strength, as it does a mechanical correction.

    Comment by isavage30 — May 10, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  16. I am assuming that 100 official innings pitched or less at any level is a significant break from a 200 official innings pitched season on a Major League roster. However, as some one who has never pitched ever, I could be very wrong.

    Comment by Cody — May 10, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

  17. Being an A’s fan, I hated to see him carve up those hitters, but damnit if I can’t be thrilled to see Kazmir pitching well again. I heard nothing but good things about the person and am jazzed to see the pitcher coming back into form. Here’s to hoping it will last.

    Comment by Blofkin — May 10, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  18. It’s a great comeback story…I hope he can keep it up.

    Comment by 8nthatk — May 10, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

  19. I certainly hope so. Your fantasy team needs him to pitch well a lot more than Cleveland does.

    Comment by cass — May 10, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

  20. Kaz looked pretty good when I saw him pitch for the Skeeters down in Sugarland, TX last year…granted it was independent league ball. Of course, so did Roger Clemens.

    Comment by supershredder — May 10, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

  21. Is this without precedent? Has a guy ever lost 10 mph and essentially leave baseball, only to get the 10 mph right back and return?

    Comment by White Blood Cells — May 10, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  22. I think the line on the graph should be for average velocity up to that pitch instead of just a connect the dot between each pitch. It would be more pleasing to the eye.

    Comment by WIlliam — May 10, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

  23. Based on the group in the Z-Contact % table, he is showing the tools of something more than just a “quality starting pitcher.” That’s quite a group!

    Comment by ODawg — May 10, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

  24. Next time you want your comment to solely revolve around your fantasy team in a non-fantasy article, remember that no one else cares.

    Comment by l1ay — May 10, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  25. I don’t know about that, but a simple best-fin line would have made it easier to understand.

    Comment by Phrozen — May 10, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  26. Or a best-fit line. Those are good too.

    Comment by Phrozen — May 10, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

  27. Could somebody please reply to my comment with an explanation of the difference between “FA” and “FT” for strike zone plot graphs? It feels like “FA” might be swinging and missing fastballs? And “FT” is just every other fastball (fouled off, hit in fair territory, and taken)? Is that right?

    Comment by TheFantasyPeach — May 10, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  28. Joquin Benoit was hurt for a year and came back throwing 2 mph faster than he ever had (and he’s still doing it). But 10 is likely unprecedented in the fangraphs era.

    Comment by Wobatus — May 10, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

  29. FT = two-seam fastball. FA = four-seam.

    Comment by Dave — May 10, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

  30. Here’s a post from February by the trainer who worked with Scott Kazmir:

    Comment by Skating Tripods — May 10, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

  31. It’s as difficult to read as this sentence.

    Comment by Jon L. — May 10, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

  32. I was trying to offer a solution. The best fit line is a solution. Thanks Phrozen.

    Comment by WIlliam — May 10, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

  33. “Why didn’t my GM sign him?” say fans of 29 other teams.

    Comment by za — May 10, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

  34. I loved Kazmir back when he was on the Rays, so I love seeing him do this good with the Indians now. I hope he has many good years ahead of him.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — May 10, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

  35. Why A for four seam? I knew that was the case but didn’t know why.

    Comment by Wobatus — May 10, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

  36. How long can we expect him to reasonably perform at a high level? It feels like he is just so much oder than he actually is.

    Comment by yancyeaton — May 10, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

  37. Wow. That’s quite an article. How much of it do you think is the trainer puffing himself and how much is genuine affection for and belief in Kazmir? Can you imagine if he returns to Top-20 SP status?

    Comment by jon — May 10, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

  38. Yeah, at least supposedly. Looks like he took about 10 years off after falling out of the minor leagues with injury problems.

    Comment by Spacelord — May 10, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

  39. “returns”?

    Comment by Nick — May 10, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

  40. I don’t know which one is worse: the first sentence with its implied accusation but no evidence, or the second sentence with its tiresome “yeah and what’s more he’s pitching for my fantasy team!” I wish I could give it -2.

    Comment by Scraps — May 10, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

  41. I have an acquaintance who knows Kazmir’s trainer and was telling me things before the season even started. Hard to take me at my word, but, I have every reason to believe it’s pretty legit.

    He’s getting stronger with every start and his command has improved right along with it. I think it’s important that he got results very quickly from what he did to battle back. If he came back and hung a 10 ERA in four starts, he might have gotten discouraged. Instead, he’s getting more and more confidence.

    Hopefully it continues. It’s very easy to root for a guy who rebuilt himself pretty much from the ground up.

    Comment by Skating Tripods — May 10, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

  42. I think that FF is four seam and FA is generic fastball, but I could be wrong. Trust me, it is confusing and not so easy to find the answer on Fangraphs (Dave?)…

    Comment by MGL — May 11, 2013 @ 3:14 am

  43. Couple of questions… not saying that Kazmir did use PEDs — there are lots of new experimental treatments out there for people with millions of dollars at their disposal — but if you use “PEDs” to overcome an injury while out of baseball… stop… get clean… then resume your career…. have you broken any MLB rules? Seems to me that as long as you are clean while playing, you are legal and we should STFU.

    Comment by Brandon — May 11, 2013 @ 5:39 am

  44. I wish I could give this a +2.

    Comment by I Agree Guy — May 11, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  45. Dave, you nailed before it even happened…

    Comment by Cato — May 11, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  46. I wrote that piece and I can tell u I’m not puffing myself. I don make much money and don’t need to. As u can see I follow Scott closely and he is the man. He could’ve done it without us but he used us and I just happened to document it. It was a long road and by no means easy. Velocity didn’t just come back. Not peds not magic. It was working at it every day for about two years. He’s finally found it and watch out cuz he’s got a chip.

    Comment by Kevink — May 11, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

  47. Thread has been won.

    Comment by gnomez — May 11, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

  48. Hey man – cool to hear from the author. How is Kazmir different from other guys you’ve worked with? I’m not even an Indians fan, but Gosh it’s hard not to root for the guy. What do you attribute the 10 mph of velocity return to? That seems pretty unprecedented.

    Comment by jon — May 11, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

  49. relax

    Comment by Will — May 11, 2013 @ 8:50 pm

  50. Now will we see a Welcome Back, Francisco Liriano story?

    Comment by Burds! — May 11, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

  51. me next!!

    Comment by rich harden — May 12, 2013 @ 3:34 am

  52. I hope we hear from the author RE your question, but looking at it as simply recovering 10 MPH is kind of an oversimification. Kazmir is not Jamie Moyer. He had an injury that sapped some life from his fastball and it seems he then had a double whammy of completely losing any sense of reliable mechanics. I don’t think he ever lost the physical ability to throw 90. He just forgot how. To get all the way back up to 96 is super impressive, but I have to think that most of that 10 MPH comes from restoring his mechanics, not repairing his arm. No training regimen could EVER get Jamie Moyer up to 96!

    Maybe I’m wrong. Regardless, kudos to Kazmir. Let’s hope be keeps it going all season and then some.

    Comment by noseeum — May 12, 2013 @ 8:03 am

  53. or an Additive Winters forecast trend line, so we could have estimated what the speed of his next pitch would have been had he been allowed to throw it. Or a spectral decomposition, that would have looked good too…

    Comment by JKB — May 12, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  54. Maybe it is the absence of a non-PED, for example quitting a Performance Diminishing Drug, that is helping him rather than the presence of a PED. Absence, or abstinence, may make the arm grow stronger in that case.

    Comment by The Truth is Out There — May 12, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  55. Relevant story regarding Kazmir’s comeback.

    Comment by Bippidty — May 12, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  56. Faaaaaantastic… Agreed. Rick Peterson wins. Signed – a disgruntled Mets fan. I guess “disgruntled,” and “Mets fan,” was a little redundant.

    Comment by Lumens66 — May 12, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

  57. It’s not terrible. He just should have included a trend line.

    Comment by Lumens66 — May 12, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

  58. Steve Delabar. Throws 10 MPH harder now than he did as a prospect. Was cut by the padres and had a brutal elbow injury in independent ball so he was completely out of the game essentially. But he credits his velocity gain to a weird work-out regimen.

    Comment by GenYJaysfan — May 12, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

  59. Yes, Skating Tripods linked to it further up the thread.

    Comment by scraps — May 12, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

  60. No, it’d be FA for generic fastball (which I suppose is the four seamer) and FT for two seam.

    Comment by wobatus — May 12, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

  61. A real Best Shape of His Life Story.

    Comment by wobatus — May 12, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

  62. You know, with a surname like “Kazmir” I’m not really surprised. I’d expect someone known as “The Mysterious Kazmir” or “The Great Kazmir, Master of Deception” to pull a rabbit out of a hat or saw a lady in half. Scott Kazmir unexpectedly and unexplainedly going from 86 mph to 96 mph seems right in line with that.

    **Disclaimer: No offense is intended to anyone of the same ethnic heritage as Scott Kazmir (or anyone else, for that matter).

    Comment by chief00 — May 12, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

  63. “The arm does regenerate.”

    what do you base that opinion on?

    i hurt my arm in high school (was just an OF) and its still lousy today, 25 years later.

    Comment by tickle me elbow — May 13, 2013 @ 12:26 am

  64. well, i guess a player could “roid up” for a few years (while out of baseball) and pack on the muscle and then stop using around Spring Training, and play a few years at a high level while slowly deflating (how long did it take Bonds to fully deflate?). with your logic this player passes all PED tests and “never cheated”.

    Comment by tickle me elbow — May 13, 2013 @ 12:37 am

  65. why does he have a chip? nobody burned him. he only has himself to blame for any or all of his previous problems. nobody is entitled to be an MLB pitcher and he’s lucky for the physical gifts he’s been given (that 99.999% of the population don’t have).

    Also, he’s already made $30 mil according to BB Ref. Lol at Kazmir having a chip. Who’s next, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet?

    Comment by tickle me elbow — May 13, 2013 @ 12:47 am

  66. yup. FA is probably something between a FF (fourseam) and FT (twoseamer). There’s also a SI (sinker) and FC (cut fastball).

    Comment by vivaelpujols — May 13, 2013 @ 12:50 am

  67. This one weird trick that a local mom figured out? Doctors hate her for it! Click here to find out!

    Comment by a — May 13, 2013 @ 7:32 am

  68. Return: to go back or come back again

    He was an all-star twice with the atrocious Devil Rays and led the AL in 2007 with 239K’s. Yes, RETURNS.

    Comment by That Dude — May 13, 2013 @ 10:36 am

  69. I saw some GIFs of him pitching for us and for the Indians. Night and day. Another indictment on our terrible management (this includes the FO). The Angels tried to make Kazmir into something he wasn’t, a left-handed compliment to Weaver. The Indians are helping him be the pitcher he is, a power left hander with an over-the-top delivery with lots of movement.

    It disgusts me to be honest. I hope more people see this so they can stop thinking Mike Scioscia and his staff aren’t a big reason why the Angels are struggling.

    Comment by DeeEmm1 — May 14, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

  70. 28. No Angels fan thought he would correct himself, until it actually happened.

    Comment by DeeEmm1 — May 14, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

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