Is Scott Kazmir the Athletics’ Best Starting Pitcher?


Scott Kazmir,

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s best pitcher is Sonny Gray, right? While he is still the pitcher many would like up in a big game, statistically he may not be the best the Athletics have to offer. The A’s have an embarrassment of riches in their starting rotation at the moment. Each pitcher is performing at a high level. But who is the best? I will lay out the stats for each of the starting 5, and allow you to decide at the very end.

Sonny Gray was vaulted to #1 starter with the injury to Jarrod Parker before the season began. He is putting up great numbers in his first full season, and projects very nicely as he matures at the big-league level. But is he the best pitcher in the rotation right now? His walk rate is a little high for my taste, averaging right about 1 every 3 innings.

More from Oakland A's News

Scott Kazmir has been fantastic, leading the rotation in ERA at 2.05. Yes, Drew Pomeranz has a lower ERA at 1.90, but he has also pitched 36 less innings since he was a late addition to the staff.

Tommy Milone wasn’t giving the A’s much as a 5th starter in April, when his ERA climbed to 5.86. His resurgence began in a home start against the Washington Nationals when he went 8 innings of 2 hit ball. Since that start, Milone has lowered his ERA to 3.47, allowing just 10 ER in 45 innings.

Jesse Chavez continues to impress in the rotation, and has handled the extra workload exceptionally well. Here are the A’s starter’s stats through June 15.

[table id=6 /]

Gray and Chavez are putting up nearly identical numbers this season, while Kazmir is leading the way in ERA. The standout stat for me is Kazmir’s WHIP at 0.98. His WAR is also nearly a full game better than Gray at 2.4, compared to 1.5. This is not meant to diminish Gray and all that he has done this season. He is still growing in the majors, and will undoubtedly be the best the A’s have to offer moving forward. But right here and now, Scott Kazmir is the best we have.