I always thought Rick Peterson got too much of the blame. As a pitching coach (and a pretty good one), he thought he could fix Victor Zambrano, which was wrong, and that Kazmir’s delivery was unsustainable, which proved to be correct years later, though after he provided a lot of value that the Mets could have used.
It’s a pitching coach’s job to evaluate and work with pitchers, and the GMs job to make trades and assess value of players. Kazmir was one of baseball’s top pitching prospect, V. Zambrano was the AL leader in walks. Duquette could dealt Kazmir for value, and I can’t imagine the Rays would’ve needed a top prospect to deal Zambrano, the guy his pitching coach wanted. Peterson gets all the blame, but he didn’t make the dumb trade himself.
Hopefully Kaz gets onto a post TJ surgery style of training regimen and resurfaces somewhere. He is still two years younger than Chris Carpenter was when he joined the Cards, and is the same age as Cliff Lee was when he figured out a new way to pitch. I would love to see what a year of conditioning and working with Dave Duncan could do for this guy.
If all his problems do relate to injuries, and it’s quite possibly they do, he may never be able to pitch successfully again.
If he wants to try though, maybe it would be good for him to just take the rest of this year off-work on getting and keeping his whole body strong-and rest that arm. Then try again on a minor league deal next year. He’s young enough to still have a career and there are some broken pitchers that manage to be effective again.
As a long-suffering Mets fan, I too am always reminded of Victor Zambrano whenever I hear a discussion of Kazmir. Irrespective of his past association with the Mets, am sad to see any player’s career cut short — or, at the very least, seriously derailed — bu injury.
Although obviously tongue-in-cheek, I wouldn’t mind seeing him return to the Mets, convert to a knuckleballer and then the Mets could throw out a lefty/righty knuckler combo of Dickey and Kazmir.
Kazmir’s issues aren’t a mystery. Pitchers with a small build will always have long-term challenges maintaining velocity. It’s a lot easier if you’re built like a Clemens, Ryan, Verlander, etc.
It’s the exception cases that I find most interesting. How the hell did billy Wagner maintain his velocity for so long? How did a beanpole like Pedro Martinez outlast a Mark Prior? (Was going to say Kerry Wood but his slider was too wiffle-ball like to not be harmful to the arm)
Pitch count would probably be a better indicator of abuse for Kazmir than innings pitched considering his inefficiency (pitches/inning-wise)… not sure if there is data for determining pitcher-abuse points with pitches.
Duly noted…based on the reference to IP in the article, I had assumed PAP incorporated IP, possibly with some sort of Verducci effect-type scaling that also incorporates age/previous workloads.
If the formulas I am seeing are correct for PAP, it seems fairly worthless as there is no basis for the 100 number other than it being a round and even number divisible by 10. A guy effortlessly cruising through 9 innings and a guy laboring through 5 will both crack 100 pitches. One has his workload more distributed with greater periods of rest interspersed, the other is condensed over a shorter period of time with less rest and likely in higher pressure situations. Obviously, there are problems with looking at only pitches or IP without considering the other.
You’re on the right track, my fellow James. But it’s a little more complicated than that. You need to know the number of pitches thrown in each inning to really judge the stress on a pitcher’s arm. Here’s my formula for an inning: PSP = (Max(PC-15, 0))^2. In other words, there is no (unusual) stress in any inning where the count is 15 or less and it’s minimal until you get into the 20’s. Pitching from the stretch is more stressful than the windup. And that doesn’t even count the extra throws to the bases to hold runners on.
True not blaming Rick totally per se, just that his now infamous quote makes it more painful to ever hear Kazmir’s name, knowing that all his WAR in his early peak prime could have pushed the Mets over the top in the 2005-2008 years.
Also worth nothing that Duquette was only an interim GM at the time.
Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — June 16, 2011 @ 2:47 pm
Isn’t the move amongst the intelligentsia not overall pitches, but high pitch counts in an inning? (IE a 35 pitch inning is more stressful within an 85 pitch outing than a 20 pitch inning in a >100 pitch gayme.)
Indeed, although it certainly didn’t hurt the Rays that Joe Girardi made some fairly questionable managerial decisions in the season’s final month which also helped give the division over to Tampa.
Ultimately your last sentence is absolutely true: Tampa’s F.O. seems to be smarter than the average bear.
Comment by Whizzer White — June 16, 2011 @ 4:23 pm
“Also worth nothing that Duquette was only an interim GM at the time.”
In which case, shame on ownership for empowering (or permitting) an interim GM to make such a controversial trade.
I agree that Peterson gets far too much of the blame. We’ll never know if he actively lobbied for the deal or merely green-lit it on the basis that he had confidence that he could turn Zambrano into something better than he was. At the end of the day, the buck has to stop with the GM.
Comment by Whizzer White — June 16, 2011 @ 4:30 pm
it means somebody added 186.0, 144.2, and 206.2 improperly.
the Angels have to have a bunch of idiots in their front office. Your scouting and developing is pretty good, your coaches seem to be really good, you have a ton of money compared to most teams and play in a very lucrative market. How the hell do you guys not have more rings?
Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 16, 2011 @ 8:51 pm
Poor Kaz. Asking “what’s wrong with Kazmir”, like most things, I don’t think it’s one thing. I think it’s a combination. I think he pitched too much when he was young, and he is smaller, and maybe his mechanics, and maybe even the types of pitches he threw.
I’m a firm believer that you should teach a pitcher based on his body type, not one standard way to teach pitching. Long arms, long fingers, teach him splitters, 2 seams, and a 3/4 throwing slot. Short and bulky, over the top, 12/6 curve. Etc etc etc
Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 16, 2011 @ 8:55 pm
That works as long as you have a body-mature pitcher, and that may be willing to pitch differently than in his past. Your first round pitcher may not be willing to change to suit your teachings, and his agent may agree (as he is paid to do). And, said agent will let it be known that the coach is not using his clients talents right, to the owner, and now you have painted yourself into a corner.
which is why you scout for makeup. If a guy won’t change then screw him. 80% of pitchers change and there aren’t really ever first round pitchers who are major league ready. If you aren’t coachable or open to suggestions that will make you better then you’re not going to be a successful major leaguer.
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