If you took a risk on Scott Kazmir on draft day, he has without a doubt surpassed every expectation you could have had for him this season. His rebound season last year was nice, but was not exactly too useful from a fantasy perspective. The peripherals suggested he should improve this year and he has certainly lived up to the pre-draft hype that some industry experts had for him.
I have owned him all season, but now with the playoffs coming up, his past two performances are at least a bit disconcerting. He’s gotten completely blown up against the Angels in his past two outings, and by completely blown up I mean they were his worst two outings of the season. He is an interesting case because he was out of the league for so long, and last year he threw just 158 innings, which he recently surpassed this year as he now sits at 159.1 innings pitched on the year.
He is difficult to let go of, and I am willing to at least hold on to him for another start. Depending on your league and your comfort level with your pitching staff, you have to closely monitor the situation as well. I have seen writers I respect say they are off the boat entering the playoffs, and I do not blame anyone who makes that same call.
For the record, ZiPS and Steamer both think he will continue to struggle going forward, with a 3.93 and 3.74 ERA respectively. He could still be a good source of wins even with those numbers as the A’s head toward a pennant chase, but his leash is extremely short at this point.
My recommendation is to give him one more start, especially if you are starting your playoffs next week. His next start is against Houston, so it is certainly sink or swim for him in that start. It is far from a good look that his only really good start in August was a home game against the Mets, and that he only recorded a 3.86 ERA or better one other time in the entire month.
His velocity has been right in line with his season averages, so while he may be tiring his velocity has not taken a hit. If it had, I might be advocating abandoning ship already. But with steady velocity and another outing against one of the league’s worst offenses, I am willing to stick it out with him for one more start before I let go of a guy who was such a stable rock for me for a majority of the season. Maybe it is blind faith, but I do not see enough signs that say jump ship and look on the waiver wire, but I am certainly very close to being forced to make that move.
Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.