In case you haven’t noticed, Scott Kazmir has returned to the major leagues. Not only that, but he’s made 17 starts for a contending team, the Cleveland Indians.
Kazmir’s fastball velocity sits above 92 mph, at the same level as his 2006-07 peak with the then Devil Rays. He’s mixing his fastball/slider/change much like before, though he’ll throw in a cutter and a curve from time to time. He even had a 10 SO, 0 BB outing on May 9 against the A’s, who are not whiffing nearly as often this season as their record 2012 pace.
The results have been less impressive: a 4.30 ERA (4.36 FIP), 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings (down from 10+ at his peak). He’s also had trouble avoiding hard contact, allowing 14 home runs in his 17 starts. That being said, his control is as good as (or better than) ever, with 3.2 walks per nine innings this season. Most importantly, aside from some minor back issues, he’s been healthy.
Kazmir is certainly someone to keep an eye on as the second half progresses. If he settles in as a mediocre starter, fine. In the short term, however, the upside is enticing.