by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Scott Kazmir has always been a pitcher who averaged 90+ mph on his fastball. Last season he was at 93.01 mph on his fourseam fastball and 91.79 on his sinker. Why are we talking about this, especially with the move to the NL expected to help Kazmir put up some gaudy numbers? This note from Bill Shakin of the Los Angeles Times (click here for the article) is certainly eye opening:
“On Monday, his fastball sat in the 86-89 mph range. The last time his fastball was so slow, in 2011, the results were so bad that the Angels released him, and it took him two years to recover the arm strength necessary to return to the major leagues.”
As you would expect Kazmir played off the velocity, saying that the outing was all about mechanics and being quoted as saying:
“If I try to let it go too early, I find myself getting out of my delivery”
There no concerns, yet, but considering his spring numbers (7 ER on 12 H and 2 BB over 3.2 IP) and this news you had better believe that things are going to snowball quickly. The Dodgers rotation is already full of holes, after already losing Brett Anderson and having numerous other starters on the sidelines. They do have depth, though it is generally unspectacular unless they are willing to let one of their top prospects (Julio Urias, Jose De Leon) break camp with the team.
Should fantasy owners be sliding Kazmir down their draft board? Given the depth of starting options around the league it would make sense, but we wouldn’t write him off completely quite yet. If he’s operating as a backend option there’s going to be value and it won’t be costly to move on, if needed.
Prior to this news we had Kazmir ranked as the #39 starting pitcher. While we haven’t moved him, yet, seeing him drop closer to the #50-55 range would likely make sense so adjust your expectations accordingly. If you can get him at that point then why not, though any earlier and the risk is to great.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Los Angeles Times
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