Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Buy or Sell: Ian Kennedy


Ian Kennedy and his San Diego Padres will play host to his old team, the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight. Thus far, the 2014 season has been kind to Kennedy.

Ian Kennedy: 2014

IP
BB
H
ER
K
W-L
ERA
WHIP
3782713372-33.160.95

But obviously, fantasy owners haven’t exactly been beating down the doors to pick up Kennedy. So, heading into his seventh start of the season, is the strong performance really a return to his 2011 form, or nothing but a mirage?

 

Why you should Buy

The 3.16 ERA is really nice but at this point of the season, WHIP is a far greater indicator of how well a pitcher has pitched as it doesn’t sway so dramatically based on one at-bat. Thus far, Kennedy has done a great job at preventing runners from reaching base. With a fly ball pitcher like Kennedy, that’s important as every now and again, a fly ball is going to land in the seats. When that happens, it’s nice to not have a few runners on base.

Really, that leads us into the next point. Ian Kennedy is a fly ball pitcher, which has disastrous potential when pitching in a park where the ball carries — like Arizona. Even with the fences drawn in, that’s not the kind of park San Diego is, as it’s still very hard to hit home runs there.

Also, Kennedy has always been a guy that can bolster your strikeout total. Even through dismal seasons in 2012 and 2013, his K/9 rate was a fine 8.1. If he can keep the ERA and WHIP totals at even a decent level, you can pair him with a strike thrower that keeps his ERA and WHIP down, even if he may not generate many strikeouts.

From the standpoint of riding the hot hand, adding Kennedy would make a lot of sense. But even when and if he cools down, he’s still a potentially valuable starter.

 

Why you should Sell

Who exactly is the real Ian Kennedy? You’ve already seen his numbers this year, and we certainly can’t deny that 2011 was a good year for him.

Ian Kennedy: 2011

IP
BB
H
ER
K
W-L
ERA
WHIP
222551867119821-42.881.09

Definitely worthy of the Cy Young consideration that he received (finishing fourth in voting). But Kennedy is 29, so what has the rest of his career looked like?

Copy of Ian Kennedy: 2011

Split
IP
BB
H
ER
K
W-L
ERA
WHIP
2007-2010253.210722612221110-144.331.31
2012-2013389.212839619235022-224.431.35

Is it maybe possible that we’re just looking at a mediocre pitcher that had a good year three years ago and is coming off of a good month? The whole body of work would certainly indicate that that’s at least a distinct possibility.

You have to be really careful to overrate what happens in the early part of the season. Tanner Bell recently went over some April strategies and one of them was to ask yourself what you’d be doing if this was August. If a pitcher was putting up the kind of numbers Kennedy generated in 2012 and 2013 through July but all of a sudden put up this kind of month in August, would you even notice?

If nothing else, be careful, as there’s still a lot of baseball left to be played.

 

Final Verdict

There are negatives to consider, but Kennedy’s immediate future actually looks pretty good.

We’ll start here. Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Kennedy never had a month that was anywhere near as good as his April was. In those seasons, owners literally were just looking at his 2011 and hoping that at some point, he’d find that form again. Here, we have a little more than just hope, as Kennedy really is pitching at a high level.

It’s also worth noting that looking ahead at what are likely to be his next several starts, the only really frightening match-up is against the Reds in Cincinnati. Even they’re not exactly off to a hot offensive start this year.

You’re making a mistake if you dismiss Kennedy just because of the last two years. Yes, it’s okay to be hesitant but you also have to remember that in recent years, pitchers like Ryan Vogelsong and Francisco Liriano have come out of nowhere to generate strong seasons for their teams and fantasy owners, alike. Those guys didn’t exactly have Kennedy’s positive history.

I’m buying on Kennedy and I’ll keep doing so until I see 2-3 bad starts in a row. At that point, we can certainly revisit the argument. But until them, I’d say that you can add Ian Kennedy with confidence.

 

Tags: Buy Or Sell Featured Free Agents Ian Kennedy MLB Popular San Diego Padres Starting Pitchers