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How Much have Scott Kazmir's Strikeouts Truly Declined?

Like a once mild cancer spreading through the body, even post-1st inning Scott Kazmir has been a total failure the past two starts. His decline in velocity and K/9 is pretty well documented. Sadly, the story behind his strikeout numbers is worse than the K/9 indicates. Below is a table comparing the K/9 of each pitcher in the Ray's rotation and his strikeouts as a % of total batters faced:

K/9

K%

Garza

7.5

20.74%

Kazmir

6.97

16.16%

Shields

5.97

16.00%

Sonny

5.36

12.83%

Niemann

4.54

11.05%

Kazmir is a full strikeout per 9 ahead of James Shields a percentage difference of16.8%. However, when you look at what percentage of batters Kazmir has struck out vs. Shields its only 0.16% more or a percentage difference of 0.01%. Kazmir is facing so many more hitters compared to how many he should be. Let's take a look at his historical K/9 and Strikeout %'s.

 

Year

K%

K/9

SwStrike%

2004

26.97%

11.07

12.60%

2005

21.27%

8.42

10.10%

2006

26.72%

10.14

12.20%

2007

26.94%

10.41

12.10%

2008

25.90%

9.81

11.80%

2009

16.16%

6.97

6.40%

 

The decline in K/9 from 2008 to 2009 is an alarming 30.0%. Evacuate the building because the % decline in Strikeout % in that period is 37.6%. Scott Kazmir is striking out batters at a 37.6% slower pace than last year. His swinging strike % has declined by an even greater 45.8%.  Scott Kazmir needs a break from Major League Baseball.

 

(Data prior to last night's start and compiled during the debacle)