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Friday, July 30, 2010

Scouting Report Ian Kennedy (2nd time in 2 weeks)

The 25-year old Ian Kennedy was drafted in the 1st round (21st pick) by the Yankees in the 2006 draft. It was a surprising pick for the Yankees because Kennedy wasn't seen as having a high upside, but was a very polished college pitcher out of USC that would climb through the system quickly. He did just that, making three starts in September of 2007. He lived on his pinpoint control in the minors (2.8 W/9 to go with great strikeout rates of 9.9 K/9), but that quickly disappeared in the majors, as he walked 5.8 per 9 innings as a Yankee. He made some stupid comments ("I felt like I made some good pitches and competed, which is all that really matters... What was it? A bunch of singles and three doubles, or so. I’m just not real upset about it."); he promptly got demoted and would only pitch one inning for the Yankees again (he missed significant time with a shoulder aneurysm , totaling less than 25 innings in 2009). He was traded this off-season to Arizona in the Granderson, E Jackson and M Scherzer trade.  He faced the Mets 10 days ago and pitched well, allowing 1 earned run in 5 innings, with only 6 base-runners.

Kennedy has very smooth mechanics (similar to Zach Grienke), which allows him to have such good control (as he did in the minors). Kennedy doesn't have a blazing fastball (his four-seam touches 93 mph), but his two-seam has good tailing movement and he is able to locate it well. His fastball averages 89 mph. His best pitch is his change-up, which has been rated a 70 on the scouts 20-80 scale. He spreads his fingers apart when throwing it, so it's similar to a split-finger, and it is effective versus both righties and lefties. He also throws a spike curve-ball 75-78 mph, which he has featured more over the past year (9% to now 16%). He mixes in a slider/cutter just to show hitters another look, but it isn't effective. He is throwing his change-up 20% of the time, and it's his only plus pitch.  He throws 1st pitch strikes 61% of the time.

This season, Kennedy is 5-8 in 20 starts (123 innings) with a 4.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He has a respectable 7.8 K/9, and a manageable 3.4 W/9. He has been victimized by the long ball though, allowing 19 home runs thus far, including five multi-home run games. The Diamondbacks have been trying to give Kennedy extra days rest whenever possible since he threw so few innings last year. In his last five starts he has only got out of the 6th inning once (his last start).

Most scouts view him as a #4 pitcher on a good team, and he was ranked as the #7 player in the Diamondbacks organization that is 25 or under.

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