Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Ian Kennedy

Reid Contini - RotoBaller

KennedywinTake a look at Ian Kennedy’s three seasons in Arizona:

2010 194 7.79 3.25 44.1% 20.6% 1.21 .256 3.80
2011 222 8.03 2.23 39.5% 21.9% .77 .270 2.88
2012 208.1 8.08 2.38 42.1% 18.8% 1.21 .306 4.02

Other than shaving his walk-rate and progressively seeing more batted balls evade his defense, Kennedy
posted pretty similar numbers from 2010-2012. The main outliers were the deflated HR/9 rate and ERA in his Cy Young-caliber 2011, a season that clearly was a combination of both good pitching and good luck.

Look, the bottom line is that Ian Kennedy is a good major-league pitcher. He misses bats, has a top-end K/BB ratio, and is durable. But as a flyball pitcher working in very hitter-friendly environs, it was only reasonable to expect a regression following his spectacular second season in the desert.

If you drafted Kennedy last year, then chances are you're having none of this. Going in to 2012, he certainly would have cost a high pick in most formats, and yet he didn't deliver a front-line performance. With 2012 now water under the bridge, the key is to recalibrate your expectations to what Kennedy actually is rather than what he was for one phenomenal season.

Net Net

It’s understood that eight starts with five or more earned runs allowed can be tough to swallow, but pitching lines tend to get blown open when the ball starts landing in the seats. With Kennedy you have to take the bad with the good, and with great rate stats and 20 quality starts-- more than pitchers named Darvish, Wainwright and Bumgarner and the same number as guys like Scherzer, Kuroda, Shields and Greinke-- there’s more than enough reason to be satisfied if you can land him as a middle-of-the-rotation fantasy arm. A pitcher who will give you 200 IP, around 180 K, and an ERA in the 3.75 range is a very valuable fantasy asset. Kennedy seems to be falling back to a more reasonable draft-day price. Taking him somewhere around the tenth round seems like appropriate value, where the potential for return on your investment begins to outweigh the potential risk.