12-8, 3.49 ERA, 166 K’s, 152.1 IP
The Rays leader in nearly every pitching statistic turned an overall average year this past season. He came off his injury last season pitching lights out but slowly began his decline. His biggest problem last season was high pitch counts, which can be attributed to the disappearance of his out pitch, the slider. If Scotty K is to have the breakout season we’ve all been waiting for, and finally blossom into the consistent and reliable number one, he’s going to need to regain his feel for the slider. If he can do this, he can keep his pitch counts lower and return to the strikeout king he was back in ’07. Just maybe then, in his fifth full season, he can be the guy to carry this club into October. While I don’t think it’ll show too much on paper, Kazmir will play a bigger role in the success of the team this year.
Predicted ’09 Stats: 15-6, 3.30 ERA, 215 K’s, 200 IP