Former First-Round Pick Scott Kazmir Has Earned an MLB Spring Training Invite

Devon TeepleAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2012

Scott Kazmir’s final start of the season wasn’t one to write home about about: 4.2 innings, two earned runs, three hits, six walks and three strikeouts. But considering that it was the final start of his comeback season, the fact that he was on the mound getting professional hitters out was something to write home about. 

Last year, after only one start with the Los Angeles Angels, Kazmir was all but written off as one of those “what could’ve been” stories. 

A former first-round pick of the New York Mets in 2002, Kazmir was traded shortly thereafter—along with Jose Diaz—to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano. 

Regardless of how badly it turned out for the Mets, that deal allowed Kazmir to flourish and lead a young Rays team. He became their ace and a two-time All-Star. But with an influx of Rays talent and after a plethora of nagging injuries, Kazmir was dealt to the Angles in 2009.

In six starts, Kazmir posted some decent numbers, including a 1.73 ERA. Unfortunately, the following two seasons were not good, and we witnessed firsthand the slow and agonizing decline of a once promising career. A combined 9-15 record and an ERA over 6.10 led to his release early in 2011.

There was very little documented after his release, but Kazmir made headlines in 2012 when he signed a contract with the Independent Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League. 

In 14 games Kazmir has posted a 3-6 record in 64 innings. His velocity has been hovering around 92-93 MPH, according to his Twitter account, and his 51 strikeouts should solidify that information. 

His control, which has been an issue in the past, has reared its ugly head at times during his stint in Sugar Land, but his greatness has as well.

Kazmir had a recent stretch of outings where he allowed only four total free passes in four starts. And his ERA, which began at 18.00, slowly crept down below 5.30. 

The Independent Leagues are not MLB—we all know that. But considering that Kazmir did not pitch for 18 months, what he has accomplished with little fanfare is something to be extremely proud of and should warrant an MLB spring training invite. 

He has at least earned that.

Devon is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

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