Jarrod Washburn- SEA- Caution- A couple of things have come together for Washburn in this career (so far) year. One is under his control and one is not. First, Washburn has put together his best K rate EVAR! Second, he has been enjoying some good luck (.246 BHIP). Regression to the mean will impact him negatively on the second. On the first, Washburn has not been striking out batters at the same pace he was earlier in the season. Over his last 3 starts, including the 1-hitter against Baltimore, he has 9 Ks in 22.2 IP. Washburn has recorded 3 or fewer strikeouts in 5 of his last 7 starts while pitching at least 6 innings. A combination of regression to the mean and putting more balls in play could do some real damage to Washburn’s numbers.
Scott Kazmir- TB- FYI- Kazmir has not thrown more than 110 pitches since his first start of the season. However, this drop to reasonable usage may be too little, too late. Even in his last start, where he gave up just 1 run in 6 IP, he allowed 4 hits and walked 4, getting some help from double plays to limit the damage. Kazmir’s strikeouts have dropped off recently, with 7 Ks in 12.1 IP in his last two outings. He has been hammered by bad luck, with a .332 BHIP, but that cannot explain all of his troubles. Time will tell if he is damaged beyond repair, but he is not the prime pitcher it looked like he would become.
Vin Mazzaro- OAK- Cold- Mazzaro has had a significant downturn in performance from his first starts as a major leaguer. After throwing quality starts in his first 4 appearances, he has not been able to do it in his last 5 starts. Mazzaro’s strikeout power has evaporated this month. After racking up 28 Ks in 36.2 IP in June he has only 5 strikeouts in the 14 IP over 3 July starts. Mazzaro is only 22 and may need to learn to adjust when hitters start to get a book on him.
Adam Jones- BAL- Hot- With a 4-for-5 night against the Yankees, Jones raised his season average to .307. Some of Jones’ success this season can be attributed to luck, with a .300 BHIPx, but he normally has a high singles average. Also, he has made strides in strike zone control. Both his walk rate and strikeout rate have shown improvements. The resulting .33 Batting EYE is not impressive in itself, but compared to past seasons is much better. Jones is a rising star who combines average, power and even a little speed (8 SBs). Last season he showed a drop off in the second half, so that will be something to watch for, but overall he is a desirable player.
Matt Holliday- OAK- Hot- Holliday seems to be getting used to the hitter’s nightmare that is the Coliseum. In the homestand that just ended he went 11-for-27 with 3 homers. Holliday now has practically identical home and road batting averages. He has not shown a tendency to drop off in the second half so if his comfort level is getting better at home, he could improve his numbers overall.