Scott Kazmir’s comeback season isn’t done just yet.
According to MLB.com, Kazmir recently made his debut in the Puerto Rican Winter League with the Gigantes de Carolina. In four innings, he surrendered two runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out six.
He was all but written off once the Los Angeles Angels released him at the beginning of the 2011 season. Months after being let go and completely out of the spotlight, Kazmir resurfaced with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League.
In 15 games with the Skeeters, Kazmir didn’t really put up any numbers to write home about; 3-6, 5.34 ERA, 64 innings, 74 hits, 33 BB, 51 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.67. When you look at the splits you do see improvement on all fronts (statistics courtesy of baseballreference.com).
In Kazmir’s last five starts, there was significant progress. He never gave up more than three runs in any appearance, and never went less than 4.2 innings.
His control, which has been an issue throughout his career, did rear its ugly head in Sugar Land, however, he usually sat between one and three walks per game. An abnormal amount of six walks was given up in his final start of the year.
Velocity has always been Kazmir's strong point, but in recent years, the speed on his fastball has seen a drastic decline. According to FanGraphs, Kazmir topped out at 93.7 MPH in 2004, but in 2011 hit 86.5 MPH. On a positive note, as mentioned in a previous article on the GM’s Perspective, Kazmir tweeted that his velocity was clocked between 94 and 95. If that is true, Kazmir has a legitimate shot at getting back to the big leagues.
One game does not a season make, but consistency is paramount. Kazmir is back on the radar and the scouts will be keeping and eye out that’s for sure. In the meantime he has to continue to sharpen his skills and get back to the basics, because someone with this talent can’t be held down for long, it’s just a matter of time before this former first-round pick is back in the Show.
Devon is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, Canada, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow the GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.