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Scott Kazmir is Oakland Athletics’ Most Important Pitcher

Scott Kazmir

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir is having a terrific first season in the Bay Area and earned a nod to next week’s MLB All-Star Game. Kazmir is a few years removed from almost leaving baseball because of injuries and has become one of the best comeback stories over the last two seasons.

Kazmir tossed a gem in a 6-1 victory against cross-town rival San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park Thursday. He pitched seven scoreless innings, struck out nine and allowed only three hits and one walk. Josh Donaldson led the offense with a homer and a pair of RBI.

Kazmir may not be the no. 1 guy on the staff like Sonny Gray or the hurler with the power arm like the newly-acquired Jeff Samardzija, but he could end up being the Athletics’ most important pitcher as the Los Angeles Angels  continue to make their move in the very competitive American League West.

Kazmir signed with Oakland this past offseason where he was put in the middle of the rotation as a pitcher the A’s knew they could rely on but one that no one truly believed could be a stopper. Well Kazmir has become of a middle-of-the rotation ace and his numbers back up every bit of that.

To start things off, according to Baseball Reference, his W.A.R. is at an outstanding 2.6. That would be a great number for a high-end pitcher and is almost unfathomable for a mid-rotation hurler. He also has posted a 2.38 E.R.A., a 0.98 W.H.I.P., and his 11 wins rank him second in the American League.

Oakland is known to get the most out of the money it spends and this could not be more true than with Kazmir’s signing. His two-year deal will only cost the A’s $22 million. If he continues to pitch even close to what he has done so far this season, he will be one of the best bargains in all of baseball and could help the Athletics reach the World Series.

Gregory T. Philson is an MLB contributing writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook, and add him to your network on GoogleRead more here.