Originally posted on Reds Minor Leagues  |  Last updated 10/19/12
Kyle Lotzkar has dealt with a lot since being drafted by the Reds. He has had multiple injuries, including several arm injuries. In 2011 he threw a career higher 66.2 innings. Still just 22, he would go on to throw 112.2 innings in 2012 as he split his year between Bakersfield and Pensacola. The Reds started the Canadian right hander out in Bakersfield where he made four starts in the month of April. He threw 21.2 innings in that span with a 1.25 ERA and 1.02 WHIP to go along with 9 walks and 21 strikeouts. The results were very good, particularly given that the California League is so hitter friendly. His walk rate was a tad high at 10.7% but his strikeout rate of 24.1% was quite strong. After a strong April, Lotzkar took a step backwards in May. While he went 2-1 with a strong 3.86 ERA, his WHIP jumped up to 1.55 thanks to 19 walks in 30.1 innings pitched. He made six starts in the month, but only one of them came for Bakersfield as he was promoted to Pensacola on the 3rd. He struggled with his control in his first four starts for Pensacola as he walked 18 batters and struck out 20 in 19.2 innings before he closed out the month with 6  innings of no walk and 8 strikeout baseball. Once June rolled around he seemed to have made the adjustment with his control as he began the month where he left off with 7 innings of no walk and 10 strikeout baseball. He would see a hiccup on June 23rd when he walked 4 batters in 5 innings but he would finish the month with just 8 total walks in 25.2 innings with 36 strikeouts. He was more hittable at the AA level though and saw his ERA jump to 5.26 for the month of June. Still, the improved control and high strikeout numbers were nice to see. July was a step backwards nearly across the board. Lotzkar didn’t pitch more than 4.1 innings in a start for the month as he posted an 8.10 ERA with a WHIP of 1.90. While he was less hittable, his walk rate jumped up again as he walked 19 batters in 20 innings while striking out 24. Home runs were a problem on the month as he allowed 5 in just 20 innings. On the 8th he participated in the Future Game where he threw a shutout inning with a single, no walks and no strikeouts. Lotzkar was only able to make three starts in August, throwing 15 innings with 8 walks and 8 strikeouts. He was never placed on the DL, so he was probably simply shut down as he reached a career high in innings pitched and he was clearly tired toward the end of the season. Overall Thoughts There were some very good things in 2012 for Kyle Lotzkar, but there were also some questions that need to be answered still. The good thing was that he went an entire season without any injuries and threw a career high 112.2 innings. His 123 strikeouts in 112.2 innings is also very nice. However his very high walk rate leaves some questions to be answered moving forward about whether he can start or will need to be moved to the bullpen. While he has the pure stuff to be a good starting pitcher, the need to build innings as well as dramatically improve upon his control need to happen if he is going to start in the Major Leagues over the long haul. His 91-95 MPH fastball could probably play up from the bullpen and his above-average breaking ball would as well. Time is on his side though and despite being drafted in 2007, he is still rather young on experience due to the past injury history. Perhaps with some time and built up stamina the control can be improved.
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