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Ian Kennedy (SP/RP, KC) - Waiver Wire Pickups Week 2

BALLER MOVE: Add in AL-only and 14+ Team Leagues

OWNED IN: 10% of Leagues

ANALYSIS: After back-to-back disappointing seasons as a starter, it appears that Ian Kennedy may have found his new niche in Kansas City. He debuted this season in the eighth inning, preserving the team’s two-run advantage by throwing a clean frame. In his next outing, he was promoted to close out the club’s game, and he answered the bell recording his first career save. Kennedy’s next appearance saw him blow a one-run lead in the ninth, suffering his first career blown save. Now that he’s experienced the highs and lows of the job, Kennedy will look to hold down a spot at the back-end of the Royals bullpen.

Kennedy is clinging onto every opportunity that Kansas City will give him this year to keep himself baseball relevant. His K-rate since joining the Royals in 2016 has been league-average or below, and he’s only struck out two batters of the 14 he’s faced so far this season. Manager Ned Yost said that he “likes” Kennedy as well as teammate Wily Peralta as the team’s late-inning options, so it’s encouraging news for Kennedy’s fantasy outlook. So far, it’s been Kennedy getting the ninth inning work, but after Tuesday’s blown save it’ll be interesting to see how he utilizes these two hurlers moving forward. He’s not an overpowering arm, but because of the lack of options in the bullpen for KC, he has some fantasy value for the sole purpose of saves. Be wary that if Kennedy does happen to have a stellar year as a closer for the Royals, he’ll be a trade candidate midseason and he’ll lose the majority of his fantasy appeal. For now, he’s only worth adding in deep leagues, and AL-only formats as the team have yet to fully commit to him as their bonafide closer.

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