After losing one of the best right-handed starters in free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed Scott Kazmir, who by one measure was one of the best left-handed starters last season.
By Adjusted ERA, Kazmir was the fourth-best left-handed starter in baseball last season. Adjusted ERA compares a player's ERA to the league average ERA and adjusts for the effects of different ballparks. The average Adjusted ERA is 100.
Each of the three left-handed starters who had a better Adjusted ERA than Kazmir finished in the top three of his respective league’s Cy Young voting. Kazmir’s Adjusted ERA would have ranked second among National League left-handed starters last season.
The Dodgers could start the 2016 season with a rotation comprising five left-handed starters: Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who missed most of 2015, is also a candidate for the rotation.
After injury, Kazmir has been durable
After pitching in the majors for eight seasons (from 2004 to 2011), Kazmir was out of major league baseball in 2012.
In the three seasons since his layoff, he has averaged more than 177 innings pitched each season. He’s 10th among left-handed starters in strikeouts the past three seasons (481).
Since Kazmir returned to the majors, he has thrown strikes at a higher rate and walked batters at a lower rate, as the chart indicates.
Kazmir has made at least 30 starts in back-to-back years, the first time he has had such a streak.
Among left-handed starters the past three seasons:
• He has a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.1) than Francisco Liriano
• He has a lower ERA (3.54) than Gio Gonzalez
• He has made more starts (92) than Chris Sale
• He has allowed opponents to hit for a lower batting average (.245) than Dallas Keuchel
Last season with the Athletics and the Astros, Kazmir had a career-best 3.10 ERA. He would have ranked third in ERA on the Dodgers behind Zack Greinke (who has since signed with the Diamondbacks) and Kershaw.
Kazmir’s WHIP, opponent batting average and opponent OPS in 2015 all ranked as the second-best of his career.
Did you know?
Kazmir has never played on an NL team, despite being selected with the 15th pick in the 2002 first-year player draft by the Mets. He has a career 4.34 ERA in 166 innings against NL teams.