Posted on: April 11, 2009 7:40 am

IPK-Ready or a 'tweener?

Before last night, Ian Kennedy's career AAA numbers looked like this:

2.26 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 103 IP with just 28 walks

So last night he makes his first start of 2009, and responds with 6 IP, 4H, 1ER, 0BB, 11K.

Is he the classic AAAA pitcher? I'm not so sure. His dominating K rates alone should tell us there's something more here.

Interesting to follow-if he keeps this up, he will force another look in NY.

Category: MLB
Tags: IPK
Posted on: December 1, 2008 9:29 am

Kennedy dealing in the Caribbean

Much maligned 2006 #1 pick Ian Kennedy has been pitching for Mayaguez of the Caribbean winter league. He pitched decently in his first few starts, but has really gotten it going in his last two.

16 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

Hard to improve on that. Obviously there's a long way between a winter league and the bigs, but a full head of confidence heading into spring training certainly can't hurt.

Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera is hitting .345, and Robbie Cano .308 in the same league.

Category: MLB
Tags: IPK
Posted on: March 11, 2008 12:46 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2008 12:48 pm

Kennedy draws more Maddux comparisons

Terrific performance last night by the least heralded of the big 3.

His line: 4 IP 2H 1BB 2K 0R

Against the heart of the Cincy order:

Facing Ken Griffey Jr., Kennedy got ahead with two called-strike fastballs on the outside corner, then jammed the legend with an inside fastball, producing a high bouncer down the first base line that Morgan Ensberg misplayed into a single - the only hit Kennedy allowed.

Kennedy then struck out both Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn swinging at 2-2 changeups, fooling both of them badly. Finally, he retired Edwin Encarnacion on three pitches, a first-pitch curveball for a called strike, a fastball away that was fouled off, and an inside fastball that broke Encarnacion's bat as he lined softly to third.

It was an inning that made one American League scout at the game last night nod in admiration and say: "That was a Greg Maddux inning."

"A lot of people who have seen him think he's a No.3 starter at best in the American League because he doesn't have the big fastball," one AL executive said yesterday. "But I've heard a couple of scouts say they think he can be more than that because he has such great location with his fastball and he's got a great changeup."



Category: MLB
Tags: IPK
Posted on: March 6, 2008 9:40 am

Kepler on Kennedy

From today's NY Times:

TAMPA, Fla. — Ian Kennedy was not the kind of kid who taped a strike zone to the side of a wall and threw at it all day long. He did not pester friends or family to catch him in the backyard. Kennedy loved to pitch, but there was no need to practice. He simply threw hard, and the ball went where he wanted it to go.

" He’s always hit the mitt since I’ve known him,” said the /page/MIN">Twins." href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/baseball/majorleague/minnesotatwins/index.html?inline=nyt-org">Minnesota TwinsDelmon Young, who has known Kennedy since they were freshmen in high school. “He never misses over the plate consistently. He usually stays right on the corners, wherever the glove’s set up. He puts it where he wants to.”

Most of the time, anyway. In the second inning Wednesday at Legends Field, Kennedy tried to throw a fastball down and away but left it over the middle. Young blasted it off the center-field backdrop for a homer in the Twins’ 7-5 victory over the /page/NYY">Yankees." href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/sports/baseball/majorleague/newyorkyankees/index.html?inline=nyt-org">Yankees.

“I’ll text him tonight and say, ‘You’re welcome,’ ” Kennedy said.

After Kennedy’s three strong starts last September, the Yankees are counting on him to be in their rotation. It has been a quick rise for Kennedy, the Yankees’ top choice in the 2006 draft. He said he never expected to rise above Class AA last season.

But Kennedy and rs/playerpage/1232125">Joba Chamberlain." href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/joba_chamberlain/index.html?inline=nyt-per">Joba Chamberlain sped up their own timetables with dazzling performance at four professional levels. Both worked two innings Wednesday, Kennedy allowing a run and two hits and Chamberlain serving up a two-run homer to Garrett Jones.

Manager Joe Girardi said neither pitcher was sharp, but there was no cause for alarm. Kennedy, 23, and Chamberlain, 22, expect to struggle at times.

“We didn’t have very many outings that were real bad,” Kennedy said. “Some people would consider our bad outings their best outings. Especially in the big-league season, you’re going to lose and not do so well sometimes. We’re going to have to build on those times, and that’s when you’ll see the real player in us. I think we’ll overcome those and do all right.”

Counting his time with the Yankees, Kennedy was 13-3 with a 1.91 earned run average last season, striking out 178 and walking 59 in 165 1/3 innings. His catcher at Class AA Trenton, P. J. Pilittere, quickly got the feeling that Kennedy would not stay long.

“I remember his very first start, the way he was locating his fastball, I was like, ‘Wow, this is different than most guys,’ ” Pilittere said. “It was fastball away at will, fastball in at will. I was thinking: ‘Man, this is easy to catch. This is fun.’ I could just sit there and go No. 1, No. 1, No. 1, and we could just blow through guys.”

Pilittere said Kennedy had such command of his fastball that he could probably throw no other pitches and still succeed. Kennedy also throws a changeup, a slider and a curve, but innate control of his fastball explains his poise.

“I don’t throw really hard, but if I throw a fastball right at your knees on the outside corner, and if I repeat all my mechanics, the hitter will either give up on it or he’ll swing and he’ll get himself out,” Kennedy said. “That’s what I feel confident in: if I execute this, he’ll get himself out.”

Kennedy’s average fastball is probably 89 miles an hour, and what was exceptional in high school — when he teamed with Young on a United States junior national team — is nothing special now.

But Kennedy, who studies the control artist rs/playerpage/7837">Greg Maddux." href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/greg_maddux/index.html?inline=nyt-per">Greg Maddux closely, has extra life on the pitch to make it seem harder.

“You’re going to see 87s and 88s on the radar gun, but the way the hitters react, it’s not like 87 or 88,” Pilittere said. “He’s got a nice, easy delivery with that late, hard finish on the ball where he really drives through it. Phil Hughes is the same way. He’ll be throwing 91, and you’ll catch it and say, ‘Man, is he throwing 98 today?’ That’s something you can’t really teach.”

Similarly, the Yankees could not teach Kennedy to handle a pennant race last September. For all of his success in the minors, he had to experience the majors to know how he would react. It turns out that came naturally, too.

“When you’re in meaningful games and you pitch well, it means you’re not affected by the pressure,” Girardi said. “You just do your work and stay focused, and that means something.”



Category: MLB
Tags: IPK
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