Jan 24, 2013

Former Mets Number One Draft Pick: Scott Kazmir (2002-2004)

Scott Edward Kazmir was born January 24, 1984 in Houston, Texas. He was a star quarterback & pitcher in high school, who once tossed four straight no hitters. He verbally committed to his home state Texas Longhorns college football team, but instead went with baseball. He was chosen by the New York Mets in 2002 as a first round draft pick (#15 overall).

The left handed Kazmir began with the Brooklyn Cyclones at A ball in 2002, pitching in five games (0-1) with a 0.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched. In 2003 he struck out 145 batters in 109 innings pitched at A ball St. Lucie & Capital City. He was highly touted by the time he got to AA ball rated as the #7 prospect in the country by Baseball America in 2004. That year he struck out 104 batters in 101 innings pitched.

On July 30th 2004 the New York Mets made a terrible trade when they sent Kazmir to the Tampa Rays for Victor Zambrano & Bartlome Fortunato. The trade was highly criticized then & still is by the Met fans, New York media & everyone else for that matter. The trade led to GM Jim Duquett's demotion within the organization since he had taken over at GM for Steve Phillips.

Kazmir went on to success & Zambrano went on to fail miserably in New York. Kazmir made his debut in August of 2004 in Seattle pitching five scoreless innings against the Mariners earning his first career victory. He went 2-3 the rest of the way coming back in 2005 to go 10-9 leading the league in walks (100) posting a 3.77 ERA.

In 2006 he was the youngest Opening Day starting pitcher (22 years old) since Dwight Gooden took the mound for the 1986 Mets. That season Kazmir made his first All Star team, throwing a perfect sixth inning, retiring Freddy Sanchez, Carlos Beltran, and Albert Pujols at the All Star game in Pittsburgh. At that point he was 10-6 with a 3.27 ERA. After the break he limited to just five starts due to injuries, finishing the year at 10-8 & a 3.24 ERA.

In 2007 Kazmir had his best season going 13-9 while leading the AL in strikeouts (239) & starts (34) posting a 3.48 ERA (9th in the league). The following season Tampa went all the way to the World Series, in the regular season he was 12-8 fourth best on the staff.

Post Season: In the ALDS he got the win in Game #2 at Tampa beating the Chicago White Sox 6-2. In the ALCS he allowed five runs in ten innings pitching in two games against the Boston Red Sox earning no decision each time. Tampa won his first outing in Game #2 in extra innings but lost Game #5. In the World Series he lost the opener 3-2 at Tropicana Field, allowing two runs in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies.

In Spring Training 2008 he strained his elbow delaying the start of his season; he eventually made another All Star team & earned the victory for the AL. The next season he continued to have arm issues & was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for two minor leaguers. He is known to throw a lot of pitches, & has had problems with his mechanics as well as his velocity due to all the arm issues.

In 2010 he was 9-15 (second in the AL in losses) walking 79 batters (6th in the AL) posting one of the worst ERA’s among starters at 5.94. In 2011 he only appeared in one game at the major league level. He was 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA in just 15 innings in five games at AAA Salt Lake. In 2012 he was pitching in an Independant League at Sugarland.

In his eight year career he is 66-61 with a 4.17 ERA. He struck out 993 batters & walked 473 in 1022 innings over 180 games.

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