1. Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir
(3-4, 2.84 ERA in 13 starts)
August 19, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (26) reacts after giving up a home run to New York Mets designated hitter Travis d
Since joining the Athletics in 2014, Scott Kazmir has been a vital asset to Oakland’s starting rotation — considering the fact that it has gotten even younger in 2015, with pitchers like Sonny Gray, Jesse Hahn, Kendall Graveman and Jesse Chavez; just to name a few. Last season, the southpaw posted a stellar 15-9 record with a 3.55 ERA in 32 starts. More times than not, Kazmir has been a very reliable starter for his ball club, despite the fact that reaching the mid-90s on any of his pitches is out of the question. At this stage in his career, Kazmir relies in his fastball like most pitchers do, but he has leaned heavily on the change-up and cutter as his primary off-speed pitches to catch opposing hitters off guard. According to FanGraphs, Kazmir uses these two pitches exclusively (33.7 percent of the time) when not tossing the BIG CHEESE! His recent success was rewarded in 2014, as he was named one of seven representatives from Oakland in the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.
It was a surprise to see Kazmir linked to the Astros – when clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and even the New York Yankees could use a back-end starter to gear up their rotations. Many of these organizations are stocked with MLB-ready prospects, including outfielder and Pleasanton, California native Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals. Should this theory prove to be concrete, a good trade candidate would be Astros’ middle infielder Tony Kemp, in light of highly-touted prospect Carlos Correa playing at shortstop and Jose Altuve playing at second base for many years to come.
Next: Setup Man, Turned Closer