If you had to bet on Jamie Moyer, Mark Prior or Scott Kazmir to win more games from today until the end of the world, on which pitcher would you bet?
On Aug. 23, 2004,Scott Kazmir made his major-league debut. He was 20 and one of the dozen best prospects in baseball. Three days later, Mark Prior struck out eight and beat the Astros. He was 23 and one of the half-dozen best pitchers in baseball. The same day that Prior won his game, Jamie Moyer gave up six runs to the Royals and lost his seventh decision in a row, a streak that would eventually stretch to 10 losses and push his ERA over 5.00. He was 41 years old.
And here we are in 2012, and each is attempting his own comeback. Moyer is pitching well in the Cactus League; Kazmir threw for scouts last month; Prior’s audition for major-league teams could come in the next few weeks. Based on what we knew through 2004, it is a surprise that all three are still pitching. Based on what we knew through 2004, it is a surprise that none of the three is on a major-league roster. Based on what we knew through 2004, it is a surprise that the band Bush is still releasing new music. Life is surprising, man. But the question before us is this:
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Prospects of Scott Kazmir ever recapturing the magic are declining - along with his velocity.
I’m not ashamed to admit this: Once upon a time, I had a fantasy crush on Scott Kazmir. You know what I’m talking about when I say fantasy crush... I had to have him on my roster. In every league. I was probably guilty of raising his ADP by five to ten places. If some other owner grabbed him before I had a chance, I immediately sprang into action formulating a potential trade. Auction league? Let’s just say I had my own little “Kazmir Allocation Fund” at the ready.
Why did I like Kazmir so much? The strikeouts, the strikeouts and the strikeouts. He led the AL in strikeouts in 2007 with 239 and from 2005 to 2008 he averaged 9.7 SO/9. Among starters that threw in all four seasons and tossed at least 500 innings total, that strikeout rate was the tops in baseball. And it wasn’t even close. In fact, only three pitchers struck out more than a batter an inning during those four seasons.
Lima Time as a standard for evaluation, reinforcing the Red Sox, the Tigers slip by an Inge, and more.
Using a pitcher's rate of SNLVAR, Kazmir's season has been a disaster of massive proportions, one that rates about 4.8 on the Keough scale, something that for the moment suits my purposes for describing starting pitcher inadequacy, using Matt Keough's appalling 1982 season as a baseline for starting pitcher-related terrors visited upon a team's unhappy fans over a full season. This isn't really especially fair of me, in that Keough doesn't hold the single-season low for a starter with 30 starts in a campaign, but 1982 was a horrifying disappointment, and the man was beaten with a regularity that made me think that he was the drum, and the entire American League was Keith Moon.
With an eye towards the weekend's action, what is the performance track record of the Angels' Game Three starter?
Despite his age, Scott Kazmir has already had a career full of ups and downs. At just 25 years old, the former Tampa Bay Rays ace has an uncertain future ahead of him, as he could go in one of two directions: he could bounce back from a disappointing 2009 season to become the pitcher many envisioned him turning into, or he could continue to slip further from top-of-the-rotation relevancy with each passing year. The Angels dealt for him this summer, hoping that he can be more the former than the latter, especially over the next month, as they try to do something they have never done before-beat the Red Sox to advance in the playoffs.
The Sox played their way into October with two dramatic wins this week, while the Rays won their division with six dramatic months. Who holds the advantage?
Each year, the White Sox graciously host a University of Chicago alumni event, where Christina Kahrl and I speak to 150 or more nerds in the U.S. Cellular Conference & Learning Center. The group gets tickets to the game too-which usually means a contest against the Orioles or the Royals, or perhaps a thrilling interleague tilt against the Pirates; clubs that don't motivate many Chicagoans to give up an afternoon from their short summers to come out to the ballpark.
The AL Central will be a dead heat, according to the BP staff, with the East and West showing more separation.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. The National League predictions will follow, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.
Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
Let's compare J.J. Hardy and Bobby Crosby:
Player Age EqBA/EqOBP/EqSLG
Hardy 20 .240/.316/.380
Crosby 23 .273/.356/.490
Adjusted for park and league context, Crosby's numbers were much, much better. How to balance that against the age differential? I think the question becomes: How likely is it that Hardy will post a line of .273/.356/.490 or equivalent by the time that he's 23? It's possible, certainly, and it's also possible that he'll post a line even better than that. But I don't think that it's *probable*. That's a lot of improvement to make. PECOTA would put the possibility at somewhere around 25%, I'd think, and I think that's enough to render Crosby the stronger prospect.