The week before the MLB trade deadline is when the rumor mill starts churning, but the Astros have made the first major deal already, acquiring left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir from the Oakland A’s for minor leaguer catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden. The addition of Kazmir gives them another quality southpaw in their starting rotation along with Collin McHugh.
Kazmir has been one of the better pitchers in Fantasy this season. Although his win/loss record is a meager 5-5, his 2.38 ERA and .209 batting average against are both 10th among qualified starting pitchers. In addition, his 1.09 WHIP is 14th and his 0.57 HR/9 IP is 13th among qualified starters.
Overall, the move to Houston from Oakland has little or no bearing on Kazmir’s Fantasy value for the rest of the season. He won’t have the Astros’ lineup to feast on for strikeouts anymore, but that shouldn’t affect his robust 8.29 K/9 rate. Kazmir’s new home park is more homer-friendly than O.co Stadium, but he’s given up very few home runs this season (seven HRs in 109.1 innings). If anything, the Astros’ defense is somewhat better than Oakland’s, which could help keep his ERA below 3.00 the rest of the way.
Daniel Mengden is a 22-year-old pitcher currently pitching in High-A ball as a starter and out of the bullpen. He doesn’t appear to be anything special, with middling strikeout rates and an ERA over 5.00 this season. Jacob Nottingham is an offensive-minded catcher with solid emerging power and contact issues that may keep him from ever getting to show it. However, he’s shown better plate discipline this season and has a chance to be quite good if he can get his contact rates up. He’s just 20 years old, and considering he’s batting .324 in High-A ball, he appears to be the guy Billy Beane was really after in this deal.