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May 6, 2013

Pebble Hunting

What Scott Kazmir Looks Like Now

by Sam Miller and R.J. Anderson


On Saturday, Scott Kazmir and the Indians faced Joe Mauer and the Twins. Kazmir was looking for his first victory since 2010, and he got it. Mauer was looking to break out of a 4-for-38 stretch that had dropped his OBP nearly 100 points. He reached base twice, but only once against Kazmir, and with weak contact.

Previous history:
For three seasons, Scott Kazmir and Joe Mauer shared space at the top of prospect lists. From 2003 to 2005, Kazmir ranked 11th, 12th, and seventh on Baseball America’s lists, while Mauer was fourth, first, and first. Each player debuted in 2004; each started the 2005 season on a major-league roster, and each had a strong rookie season—though Kazmir (3.7 WARP) finished just ninth in Rookie of the Year voting, behind Jesse Crain, while Mauer (3.0 WARP) received no votes, behind Jesse Crain. They faced off in three games through 2008, with each player demonstrating some of his signature skill: Mauer banged out three line drive singles in 10 trips to the plate, while Kazmir struck out Mauer, one of baseball’s toughest tasks, three times.

The last time they faced each other was in 2008, when Kazmir was an All-Star but showing the first hints of a dip in his effectiveness. That day, the first 10 pitches he threw to Mauer were fastballs, all but one of them 91 or 92 mph.

Since that matchup in 2008, Mauer has hit .327/.408/.474, won an MVP award, and produced 18.6 WARP. In the same time period, Kazmir produced 1.0 WARP in the big leagues. In all action, split between the majors, Triple-A, the Dominican Winter League, and the independent leagues, he pitched 392 innings with a 6.04 ERA. “He couldn't even find it whether it was pitching in extended spring training against kids or teenagers,” former manager Mike Scioscia said in 2011.

Saturday
First at-bat:

The last time we saw Kazmir in the majors, in 2011, his average fastball was 86 mph. The first pitch he throws to Mauer is 90.

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Related Content:  Joe Mauer,  Scott Kazmir

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Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (05/06)
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