Hanging on to Scott Kazmir, For Now

If you took a risk on Scott Kazmir on draft day, he has without a doubt surpassed every expectation you could have had for him this season. His rebound season last year was nice, but was not exactly too useful from a fantasy perspective. The peripherals suggested he should improve this year and he has certainly lived up to the pre-draft hype that some industry experts had for him.

I have owned him all season, but now with the playoffs coming up, his past two performances are at least a bit disconcerting. He’s gotten completely blown up against the Angels in his past two outings, and by completely blown up I mean they were his worst two outings of the season. He is an interesting case because he was out of the league for so long, and last year he threw just 158 innings, which he recently surpassed this year as he now sits at 159.1 innings pitched on the year.

He is difficult to let go of, and I am willing to at least hold on to him for another start. Depending on your league and your comfort level with your pitching staff, you have to closely monitor the situation as well. I have seen writers I respect say they are off the boat entering the playoffs, and I do not blame anyone who makes that same call.

For the record, ZiPS and Steamer both think he will continue to struggle going forward, with a 3.93 and 3.74 ERA respectively. He could still be a good source of wins even with those numbers as the A’s head toward a pennant chase, but his leash is extremely short at this point.

My recommendation is to give him one more start, especially if you are starting your playoffs next week. His next start is against Houston, so it is certainly sink or swim for him in that start. It is far from a good look that his only really good start in August was a home game against the Mets, and that he only recorded a 3.86 ERA or better one other time in the entire month.

His velocity has been right in line with his season averages, so while he may be tiring his velocity has not taken a hit. If it had, I might be advocating abandoning ship already. But with steady velocity and another outing against one of the league’s worst offenses, I am willing to stick it out with him for one more start before I let go of a guy who was such a stable rock for me for a majority of the season. Maybe it is blind faith, but I do not see enough signs that say jump ship and look on the waiver wire, but I am certainly very close to being forced to make that move.

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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.

6 Responses to “Hanging on to Scott Kazmir, For Now”

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  1. chri521 says:

    In the same boat Ben, any other “MASH” warning signs? Zone %, release points? Maybe he’s just in a deadarm or tired phase and he can pitch his way through it. They also adjusted his rest schedule recently right so maybe rust also?

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  2. Darin Chester says:

    I let him go and picked up Hughes. His body language over his last three starts tell too much. He can’t recover after digging a hole then starts steaming out of his ears. Granted his last start the ump was not giving him anything inside, he was robbed of two pitches inside I thought. The temperament of Felix, Kershaw, Price, they just dont show their poker face. When you’re mad dogging the ump, best believe he isn’t going to widen the zone for ya, and Kazmir has priors, the umps dont forget. Kazmir should be ok rest of regular and post, i’m just not willing to chance him.

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  3. Matt says:

    Rest of the season is lining up as: HOU, @CWS, TEX, LAA, @TEX. That looks nice and soft to me.

    He really was getting the crap squeezed out of him on Sunday. That was ridiculous. The home plate ump had apparently been taunting the A’s dugout in one of the previous games as well, due to their griping about the consistently horrendous umpiring throughout the series.

    He was due for some serious regression after stranding some ridiculous number of RISP over the first few months of the season. He’s not showing a lot of swing and miss right now, but his control is better than the numbers have looked recently, and the velocity is where it’s been all season.

    A normal strike zone, a few more of his usual groundballs, and some soft opponents add up to him being plenty serviceable the rest of the way. I’m riding him for the playoffs.

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  4. Matt says:

    He has one or two QS left in him. The teams that bashed him are just good hitting teams. It happens and is regression. Totally agree with Ben.

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  5. Alex says:

    Astros are the #3 team vs LHP in wRC+. Expecting another slopfest from Kazmir.

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  6. TheOne says:

    Did anyone else noticed he had crappy August last season? Sure the Disastros are #3 vs LHP but this guy is a smart veteran left handed pitcher and don’t think the young no contact Diastros will do much. The Angels are monsters vs LHPing as well only difference is the angels have quality MLB hitters. I would check who is umpiring the game before hand and if it is a pitcher friendly ump, I start Kazmir with confidence at home. Writers have been trying to down play Kaz all year but he just keeps going.

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