Kazmir looks to improve results, takes mound against Royals

04/27/2013 8:46 AM - Devo

Scott Kazmir 35.jpgLast Saturday we saw Scott Kazmir take the mound in an MLB game for the first time since 2011. And what we saw was nothing short of scary. 

For me to sit back and criticize is not right. I’ve endured brutal experiences on the mound and completely understand the feeling you get when you work so hard for something have nothing to show for it. 

I have documented Kazmir’s return to the pros for many months and have written countless articles stemming from being released by the Los Angeles Angels, to his redemption story with the Sugar Land Skeeters. 

Kazmir proved his worth to the Cleveland Indians this spring going 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings. His fastball has been rumoured to be in the mid-to-low 90’s and his command was back in check. He allowed one walk while striking out 13. 

His first start was postponed due to an abdominal injury-as reported by CBS Sports-resulting in an April 20 start in Houston against the newly relocated Astros. Kazmir was handed a 14-0 lead, and less than four innings later was removed from the game, charged with six runs on eight hits, allowing two home runs, striking out four and walking three. 

Obviously this was not what anyone wanted, but that was only one game in a career that has seen many. 

Today we’ll see Kazmir toeing the rubber, this time against the Kansas City Royals, in Kansas City. Let’s hope that with one start out of the way the nerves and location problems are a thing of the past. 

Throughout the latter part of his stint in Sugar Land and in his five starts in Puerto Rico, his strikeouts were up and walks were down. His rehab start with Columbus on April 15 was much of the same; five innings pitched, one run, five strikeouts and no walks. 

If you break down the numbers even further (courtesy of FanGraphs), you see that his fastball has picked up over 4mph to top out at 90.7mph. And his contact% (Total percentage of contact made when swinging at all pitches) is 79%, currently the lowest it’s been since 2008. 

I believe we will see flashes of the Scott Kazmir of old against the Royals today. Kauffman Stadium is a little more spacious and that short-porch in left is non existent. Added the Royals bigger names are left-handed (Gordon, Hosmer, Moustakas), his numbers should become more respectable after today. 

It has been a long road back but we shouldn’t judge him on one game.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Atlantic League modifies rules, results in strikeout wonderland

04/21/2013 5:20 AM - Devo

atlantic league logo.jpgThe Independent Atlantic League has made some adjustments to the rules to speed up the game and boy did it work out. 

According to Penn Live, the changes include; 

  • Expanding the strike zone
  • limiting non-pitching change visits to the mound for players and member of the coaching staff
  • 90 seconds between innings and only 12 seconds between pitches 

A few years ago changes were made to the college game, more specifically the SEC as seen on the Biz of Baseball;

The 20-second play clock begins; 

  • With no runners are on base
  • A ball is called if the ball is not pitched within 20 seconds
  • A strike is called on the batter, if he is not ready 5 seconds before time expires 

The 90-second play clock begins; 

  • When the last out is made, and ends when the pitcher begins his windup
  • Batting team is penalized a strike if they are not ready in 90 seconds
  • Fielding team is penalized a ball if they are not ready in 90 seconds
  • Half-inning clock is extended to 105 seconds for televised games
  • Play begins whether the network is ready or not 

A game based on tradition has seen many changes over the past twenty years, and ultimately they are for the better. The basic premise of the game is sound, but minor details-as listed above-are only for the benefit of the game. 

The major complaint is that baseball is too long and boring. I dispute that on the grounds that you must understand the game and the battles within the game to fully understand it. 

I can understand the high strike as it follows the exact rules of the game as seen here, courtesy of MLB.com

“The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the knee cap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.” 

The time issues are going to be something that will always be in dispute. Will an umpire or scorekeeper keep a stopwatch on hand? I think not.

With the new rules in effect, the Atlantic League had its first experience when the York Revolution opened up their 2013 campaign against the Bridgeport Bluefish. 

The York Daily Record reported that games last year averaged in excess of three plus hours. This game lasted two and a half and included 20 strikeouts and only one walk. 

Of the four games played Saturday night, two went under two hours and forty minutes with no less than 13 strikeouts in each game. 

If this is any indication of how the season is going to go, Mark Buehrle would be proud.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

Husker no-no highlights NCAA statistics eye opener

04/18/2013 4:13 AM - Devo

NCAA 2.jpgNo-hitters and perfect games have to be the most difficult feat to accomplish in the game of baseball. And when a big-time NCAA Division 1 school has tossed eight (four combined) in their history and none in the last 20 years, you know its something special. 

On Tuesday, a trio of Nebraska Cornhusker pitchers-Kyle Kubat, Tyler Niederklein and Dylan Vogt- shut down the Arkansas Razorbacks for their first no-hitter since blanking Peru St. on March 6, 1993. 

According to NCAA.com, Cornhusker starter Kyle Kubat-A freshman All-American last year and third-team All-Big Ten pick-has been on the shelf for 33 games due to shoulder issues, pitched five scoreless frames before giving way to Niederklein and Vogt. Not too bad for Kubat’s season debut. 

In Big 12 news, Jordan Piche', a right-handed pitcher for the Kansas Jayhawks, is having a year that you couldn’t even dream of with a stat line you only see in video games. 

Piche', a junior transfer from Indian Hills Community College, is 5-1 on the year with seven saves in 17 appearances. He’s struck out 28, walked five and opponents are batting .202 against him. All great numbers, but the 0.49 ERA is what really stands out. To break it down further, Piche' has given up two earned runs all year and yielded one extra-base hit. 

On top of the unreal numbers, he’s been named the Big 12 Conference's Newcomer of the Week for the second consecutive week. 

You think you’ve seen it all, but this game will constantly surprise you.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Tony Davis’ road to Toronto goes through Dunedin

04/14/2013 7:18 AM - Devo

Tony Davis.jpgIn early March I interviewed Tony Davis, only a few months after he was signed to a minor league contract by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The signing of a left-handed specialist doesn’t get much press in the grand scheme of things, but these are the type of transactions that every team needs to make to become successful.

Drafted in the 12th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft from the University of Florida by the Minnesota Twins, Davis is no stranger to the minor league’s appearing in over 110 games. He made it up to Double-A with the Twins in 2012, but suffered a setback that resulted in a stint with the Independent Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League. 

A stellar season in Canada caught the eye of the Toronto Blue Jays, and they offered him a minor league deal. Davis, who said he is honoured to wear the Blue Jays uniform, will give it his all, no doubt about it. 

Now that spring training is done, I followed up on his progress in Dunedin, and not surprising, Davis is again doing what he does best; getting people out. 

Still early in the season, Davis is tied for second on the team in appearances with three, sports a 2.25 ERA and has struck out eight and walked only one. Opponents are batting a collective .200 off him and lefties are hitting a paltry .167. 

If Davis can sustain, there is no telling where he could end up at the end of season. Coming from the left side is a hot commodity in this game and when a team has one that is consistent there’s no telling how much success is waiting for him. 

Take Aaron Loup for example. Loup spent four years in the Jays’ minor league system before getting called up last year. And without a doubt, he’s made his presence felt. Lefty’s are hitting .215 off him while walking two and striking out eleven in 35 games. 

If Davis continues to improve hopefully we will see him in the Toronto one day. Could you imagine two lefties who drop down from the side to mow down the opposition? Talk about a devastating combination. 

(Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and MiLB)

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

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