Scott Kazmir, a once highly touted prospect in the New York Mets organization as well as the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays for 5 seasons, is a power pitcher cursed with a small body. After dominating at times for a handful of seasons, Kazmir’s production declined as his pitching arm seemed to deteriorate. He started to consistently get lit up until the Rays finally decided to part ways with him. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim took a shot with Kazmir to help bolster the back of the rotation. After going 9-15 with an ERA of 5.94 and allowing 5 earned runs in just 1.2 innings in his first start in the MLB in 2011, the Angels, like Tampa Bay, decided to cut the cord. Kazmir, now playing in the Independent League with the Sugar Land Skeeters, is likely to never pitch in the major leagues, or even in the minor leagues for that matter. This is a tale of caution because there is another small power pitcher who once dominated and is now struggling. That man’s name is Tim Lincecum.
The man that San Francisco Giants fans have coined as “The Freak” was one of the best pitchers in baseball ever since breaking into the big leagues in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Young Awards, a feat that is not very common nowadays. His career record coming into this year was 69-41 but things have since changed. In 2012 Tim Lincecum is 2-8 with a ballooned ERA of 6.07. The questions Giants fans are asking is “what’s wrong?” It could be as simple as a pitcher going through some struggles but there have been very few points this season where this pitcher has resembled the Lincecum of old.
Scott Kazmir, once a great MLB pitcher turned Independent League player, is living proof that power pitchers that are small in stature can be betrayed by their bodies. While we hope that he is just experiencing some growing pains, we should pay very close attention to the struggles of Tim Lincecum.
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