Kyle Lotzkar came off of a 2012 season where he finished with a career high 112.2 innings, the first time in his career he has ever topped 70 innings in a single season. He had some struggles, particularly in Pensacola where he posted a 5.21 ERA with 53 walks in 86.1 innings, though he did have 96 strikeouts. The Reds sent him back to Pensacola to begin 2013 but with a role coming out of the bullpen for the first time.
Lotzkar made his first appearance out of the bullpen on the 5th of April with 1.1 shutout innings, but he did walk two batters in the game with a strikeout. He didn’t appear for five more days and struggled in his next outing against Mobile, allowing 4 earned in 2.2 innings with 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and he hit a batter. On the 14th he recorded just one out as he allowed 3 hits and hit two more batters. The right hander didn’t make another appearance until the 26th of April when he allowed a run in an inning of work with a walk and a strikeout to finish out the month with a 10.13 ERA in 5.1 innings with 5 walks, 5 strikeouts and 3 hit batters. He really struggled with his control, which led to being more hittable and free base runners.
May began with two shutout appearances over 1.2 innings with a strikeout. On the 7th the struggles returned as he walked 3 batters and hit another one in 0.1 innings. On the 14th he allowed 2 runs in 0.1 innings and again struggled with his control, allowing 3 walks and hitting another batter. After the game he was sent to Bakersfield. The control problems followed through the rest of the month to finish May with a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings with 9 walks, 10 strikeouts and 4 hit by pitches. The control problems continued and he saw a roster move down to the Bakersfield Blaze.
June began with struggles against Rancho Cucamonga where he allowed 3 runs in an inning of work where he walked a batter and hit another one. His next two outings were strong with 3.2 innings with just one walk and 4 strikeouts. After a solid outing on the 9th Lotzkar really struggled on the 12th against Visalia as he allowed 6 earned in 0.1 innings with 2 walks and he hit a batter. Two good outings followed before two rough ones with 4 earned over 1.2 innings with 4 walks, 2 hit batters and 2 strikeouts before the month ended with 1.1 shutout innings with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. The righty finished up June with a 9.69 ERA in 13 innings with 12 walks, 16 strikeouts and 4 hit batters. The control problems were still persistent and he struggled to find any sort of consistency.
July began with five scoreless appearances that spanned 6 innings through the 18th, but the control problems were still there as he walked 6 batters and hit another one with 4 strikeouts in that span of time. Over the final four games of the month he allowed 6 earned in 4 innings with 4 walks, a hit batter and 5 strikeouts. He finished the month with a 5.40 ERA in 10 innings with 10 walks, 2 hit batters and 9 strikeouts. The control was still a very big concern, though he did post his lowest ERA of the year for the month.
Lotzkar only made one appearance in August as he allowed 1 run in 1 inning of work with a walk and a strikeout against San Jose on the 2nd. The following day the Reds put Lotzkar on the Bakersfield Blaze disabled list for the rest of the season. In September the Reds removed Lotzkar from the 40-man roster to make room for a reliever coming off of the 60-day disabled list.
Kyle Lotzkar has struggled with his control at times for most of his career, but he has also always missed a ton of bats along the way. What happened in 2013 was disastrous. His control was mostly non-existent during the season and his ERA, likewise ballooned up as he really struggled with making the transition to the bullpen. With his removal from the 40-man roster, assuming I understand the rules correctly, that makes Lotzkar a free agent at the end of the season. Scouting reports have the stuff still being there, so there is a chance he can recover from his 2013 if he can find his control and remain healthy.
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