One further note on Kim after I read that manager Bob Brenley was concerned about Kim's pitch counts:
Most significantly, the 24-year-old sidearming right-hander threw just 42 pitches, 30 for strikes. Manager Bob Brenly has said Kim must cut down his pitch count to become a starter. He was known to throw 30 or more pitches in an inning as a closer.
I think that this is a concern for Kim. Using his 2001 and 2002 game logs (NP=number of pitchers, BF=batters faces):
His first inning numbers remained almost unchanged from 2001 to 2002. However his longer outings were much different. Well, the number of pitches per inning is about the same, but how they are distributed changes dramatically. The number of pitches per batter increase in 2001 as he pitches more innings, but the number of batters faced per inning dropped dramatically (3.08!). In 2002, the Number of pitches per batter faced stayed pretty flat and so did the batters faced per inning: they both improve slightly.
I think we may have the answer to the strikeout anomaly in 2002. It seems that in his longer outings in the past Kim tried to blow the ball past batters and tended to strike more men out but as more batters saw his pitches they battled him more (almost 5 pitches per at-bat). In 2002, Kim took a different approach apparently trying to get batters to put the ball in play earlier in the count and I would think threw more strikes and stayed ahead of the count (though I have no data to support these claims directly).
Here are his ground ball to fly ball and ball in play to strikeout ratios:
Not how the balls in play tapered off as Kim pitched more innings and how few ground balls he threw in 2001? In 2002, he threw more ground balls and his balls in play increased as he pitched more. Actually, I said earlier that he changed his approach, and in actuality, I'm not sure if that is the case or if it is a byproduct of his improved pitching in 2002.
Whatever the reason, he shows some improvement in 2002. That is, if the end goal is being a starting pitcher. Now, whether this change will carry into this year or if Kim falls back on his old ways remains to be seen. But this may be that limiting factor that makes him another Kent Tekulve but not another Derek Lowe. Time will tell.