A's replacement pitchers getting the job done
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's time to acknowledge the pitching efforts of two Oakland pitchers, veteran Scott Kazmir and 25-year-old Drew Pomeranz.

A week ago, I wrote an analysis of Oakland's top young pitcher, Sonny Gray. However, Gray isn't the only member of Oakland's starting pitching staff producing fantasy-worthy statistics.

The work Kazmir and Pomeranz are doing has gone a long way in making up for the two preseason injury losses of Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin and the free agent defection of Bartolo Colon.

The three missing pieces had accounted for 44 wins (against 24 losses) in 2013 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.171 WHIP and 422 strikeouts.

Through the first 59 games of the 2014 season, Kazmir has racked up six wins and Pomeranz five.

Kazmir, a 10-year veteran, has a history of swinging from great to ordinary from one start to the next and one season to the next. He led the league in walks in 2005 and strikeouts in 2007, and his WHIP has bounced from 1.46 in his rookie campaign to less than 1.27 in 2008.

In the pitcher-friendly confines of O.co Coliseum, Kazmir is posting the best numbers of his career. He's already four games over .500, matching his top mark, and through his first 12 starts, his 2.40 ERA and 0.987 WHIP are easily better than any other season's output.

Of course, the question every fantasy owners should be asking himself is, can this hot run continue?

The answer is yes.

Kazmir's career statistics point to a history of better production after the All-Star break than before. He's three games over .500 with a 4.51 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in the first half of the season and seven games above with a 3.41 ERA and 1.31 WHIP after the Summer Classic.

Add in a career record of 9-6 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in Oakland and the numbers say his string of very good pitching should continue.

For Pomeranz, it's a little more dicey because we have less history to evaluate. The young left-hander was a first-round selection in the 2010 MLB amateur draft (No. 5 overall) of the Cleveland Indians. He was part of a trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez from Colorado to Cleveland in 2011, but never could pitch in the light air of Denver.

This past December, he was traded along with Chris Jensen to Oakland for Brett Anderson.

The move to Oakland has done wonders for his statistics and fantasy value. Though he didn't make his first start for the A's until May 7, Pomeranz has gone 4-1 as a starter with a 2.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings pitched.

However, there is one number which should concern fantasy owners.

The really worrisome part of his statistics points to the fact Pomeranz doesn't pitch deeply into games, so continuing to garner wins at his current pace is unlikely.

In his five starts, Pomeranz has averaged just 4 2/3 innings with his longest outing going to the first out of the sixth inning. Since a starter has to go a minimum of five innings to be eligible for a win, he's a big gamble at this point.

Unfortunately, we've never seen him pitch past the seventh inning at any time in his career. Part of that was his ineffectiveness, but some of it was due to an ill-fated experiment in Colorado of only allowing starters to throw 75 pitches before being removed. The 2012 experiment took place in the season Pomeranz made the most starts of his career (22).

Although we believe Pomeranz can be a solid fantasy contributor, the jury is still out.

Both Kazmir and Pomeranz rank in the AL Top 10 in our starting pitcher evaluator (SSRD360) and both left-handers are worthy of being owned in fantasy leagues.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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