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Breaking News: Scott Kazmir Throws A lot of Pitches

Thanks to Brooksbaseball.net, we are now able to see how much pitches a pitcher threw by individual innings. We are also given the number of pitches that went for strikes and the strike percentage. With this info I went to work one last time looking at Scott Kazmir's 2008 season. I wanted to see where Kazmir ran into trouble; what inning did he average the most pitches? Was there any correlation to strike percentage?

Looking at the data, Kazmir just struggled across the board. Note the latter innings come with a little bit of a selection sample bias since Kazmir didn't reach the latter innings as often.

Inning

Avg Pitch

1

17.22

2

18.04

3

17.46

4

16.3

5

19.24

6

16.84

7

17.88

8

21

There was no inning in which he was under 16 pitches per, so I guess technically the fourth inning was his most economical. As you can see Kazmir averaged 21 pitches in the eight innings, the problem with that is he only reached the eight innings one time. To my surprise the second inning was a higher pitch inning than the first. I always remember the high pitch count first innings, but not so much the second. In August and September, however, Kazmir was averaging 20 pitches per first inning and that is what most of us remember.

On an average night Kazmir would get through four innings of work in 69 pitches. It's not ideal, but 17 pitches per inning with a pitch count of around 105 pitches should be good for six innings. The problem Kazmir often ran into was a high pitch fifth inning. He threw over 20 pitches in the fifth inning 14 times or 56% of the time. He would throw 30 pitches once and under 10 pitches zero times.

Now, let's look at the innings by percentage of strikes thrown

Inning

Strike %

1

64.02

2

61.17

3

68.42

4

66.82

5

66.34

6

67.14

7

65.11

8

57.14

Again, Kazmir struggled more in the second inning than in the first. And again, the strike percentage in the first inning was worse in the months of August and September in which he averaged just 56% strikes. Overall, he is pretty consistent with his best strike percentages coming from the third inning on. Although Kaz throws a lot of pitches in the fifth inning, he does throw a fair amount of them for strikes. I'm assuming this is due to the high number of fastballs thrown and the number of those fouled off for "strikes."

Overall, in 2008, Kazmir averaged over 18 pitches per inning. This is not far off of his career average of 17.50. We seem to say this every year, but if Kazmir is going to take that "next step" he is going to have to become more economical with his pitches. In order to further develop himself, Kazmir must improve his pitch efficiency. A healthy elbow, an improved change-up and a rediscovering his lost slider will go along way in doing that.  Sound like anybody else you know?