Is Scott Kazmir a Good Fit For the Astros?
Jun 27, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (26) throws against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning of their MLB baseball game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
It might seem weird that I argued for Johnny Cueto the other day here, The Houston Astros Should Trade for Johnny Cueto, and now I will argue for Scott Kazmir. At this point of the July trade deadline, it is difficult to know who is going where. What we are doing is looking at what the particular pitcher can add to the Astros rotation? So what does Scott Kazmir offer the Houston Astros specifically?
All stats are from Fangraphs:
The Astros pitchers have been successful due to their ability to get ground balls hit in crucial situations. While Dallas Keuchel is the best of them with his ability to get 64% of batted balls against him to be hit on the ground. Scott Kazmir is getting 46% of his batted balls hit against him to be hit on the ground while allowing 33.1% fly-balls. While it’s not as good as Keuchel, he still has an above one fly ball to ground ball ratio, which is 1.39. Only 8% of his fly balls hit go for home runs, which he has allowed seven on the year.
Kazmir strikes out 23% (8.42/ 9 innings) of the hitters faced while walking 8.3% (3.02/9 innings). Keuchel strikes out 21.3% (7.38/ 9 innings) of the hitters faced while walking 6.5% (2.24/ 9 innings). Kazmir has the better ability to strike out the hitter while Keuchel has better control and getting ground balls.
Let’s Compare the two pitchers pitch types and speed below. (Stats from FanGraphs)
As you can see, Scott Kazmir throws faster than Keuchel does and has a curveball that Keuchel does not feature. Having a left-hander in the rotation like Kazmir would be a good complement to Keuchel and could offer contrasting pitcher styles to the other teams.
In 2015, Kazmir has a 5-5 record/ 2.56 ERA/ 92 strikeouts in 98.1 innings. Adding a plus arm to a rotation that would already have Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh, and Scott Feldman would improve it greatly. It would also set the Astros up with a great 1-2-3 punch with McCullers between the two left-handed pitchers in the 2015 playoffs.
Are there risks to adding a pitcher with the injury history like Kazmir? Yes, but he has proved the past three years that he can stay healthy and be a top of the rotation type guy. He will not probably have the same Randy Johnson like impact on the 2015 Astros like Johnny Cueto might offer, he might come at a little cheaper price should the Athletics decide to sell. Kazmir’s most recent game was probably his best of the year last Thursday in a 4-0 win, where he retired the first thirteen hitters that he faced.
What would Kazmir cost the Houston Astros?
Next: What would the Astros have to give up for Kazmir?