So being an avid poster in the Trade Help section, I have noticed that not too many people are keen on Ian Kennedy going into 2012.
Several people would rather take their chances with Bumgardner or Strasburg in 2012. This leaves me quite puzzled...
Not only did Kennedy post career best numbers last year, but he improved almost every facet of his game. From an earlier post-
Urban Cohorts wrote:Kennedy improved in almost every aspect this season. His K/9 increased, his BB/9 dramatically decreased, his GB% went up, he allowed less HRs, and he logged more innings without getting injured. And a "luck stat"- (BABIP) went up from .256 (2010) to .270 (2011), so I don't see his breakout due to luck. His strand rate was also about average. And to top things off, he is going to be 27! Prime years ahead.
The only downside was his record. He obviously has a slim chance of repeating a 21-4 W-L record. But this guy can pitch.
I do understand that he did outperform some of his underlying stats, and was a tad lucky. Yet he has done this two years in a row now. Even if things do average out, Kennedy ends up with an ERA in the low/mid 3s. And if his skills continue to improve, that would give him at least another year similar to 2011. And if luck is on his side (for a 3rd year in a row), then he could be on the verge of being a top 5 fantasy SP (assuming a decent W/L record).
Maybe I'm missing something here, or putting too much faith in a 27 year old taking another step forward, but Bumgardner and Strasburg over him in 2012? Really? Especially with an IP cap on Strasburg. He will have a higher K/9, but probably less totals Ks, due to Kennedy pitching 25+ innings over him.
Thoughts anyone? Am I crazy here in wanting Kennedy to be the Ace of my squad (and probably at a discount because of his 2011 W-L record)?
Having seen Ian Kennedy pitch a few times ever, I can't weigh in on that aspect of things (I could, but it would be meaningless, though it doesn't stop other people around here, but I digress...) -- the perception when he was coming up with the 'Big 3' was that he was a tier below Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, reason being he lacked the velocity and was more of a 'junk ball' pitcher who threw a lot of breaking stuff but wasn't overpowering and didn't have plus stuff. This is backed up by the fact that his average fastball last season clocked in at under 90 MPH. However lats year his FA% dropped drastically in favor of a huge spike in FT% and an increase in the amount he threw his slider.
Beyond that, he was widely thought of as overrated, and that he was only receiving any hype at all because he was a product of the Yankee farm system, which isn't really that terrible an argument to make. It's a thought that many people will likely continue to have despite his success.
Finally, people are very jaded on pitchers who have tremendous years like Kennedy did in 2012 'out of the blue', as many perceive it to be. His ERA dropped nearly a full run from 2010 to 2011 and his FIP dropped more than a full run. People don't want to fall prey to the outlier year and get bitten if he returns to being a mid-3 ERA guy in 2012, so they're cautious.
FWIW, I imagine he will regress in 2012 though not as much as some are speculating. That's still not a great park to pitch in at home, and while he does have the benefit of facing some stinker ball clubs in some friendly parks in the NL West, a 0.77 HR/9 is tough to sustain. If he keeps his walks in check like he did last season, he's going to be very successful again, though.
The issue that I have with Kennedy is that his pure stuff isn't overpowering. He works at right around 90 mph with good movement and is very good at locating pitches. He's always had a good change, and introduced the cutter into his arsenal last season. That was the equalizer, IMO. Overall, I'm just kind of in that mode where I want to see him do it again before I make him my #1.Typically, when you have a starter that lacks dominating velocity on his fastball & relies on control they generally begin to rely more and more on pitching to contact. If this happens, he's more of a ratio guy than a 4 category #1 & will mean more to the Snakes than my fantasy team. If he falls far enough I would love for him to be my SP2 though.
Kennedy vs Bumgardner is a decent argument, I would expect Kennedy to outperform in 2 of the 4 standard SP cats, with Bumgardner's lead in lead in K's to be not quite enough to make up the difference in Wins and WHIP. The ERA I think will be fairly even between the two. I could see people thinking IPK's upside isn't is high based purely on prospect status and ballpark.
Strasburg is in a completely different tier than either of these two and should go well before either of them.
Bumgarner gets such huge support in the DTKW forum due to most of the time it being a keeper question. Considering the numbers that Bumgarner put up last year at the age of 21 years old, you have to understand why he is getting so much love as a solid keeper. His K rate and a very solid walk rate leads people, including me, to think he will only get better and better going forward. I think Kennedy is a solid keeper for this year, but if the question comes down to Kennedy verse Bumgarner, I am taking Bumgarner every single time. Kennedy was great last year, but Bumgarner has the chance to be better. As far as Strasburg, he is on a different tier then both of them with his tremendous upside.
I agree that most people seem to be down on Kennedy, but I'm OK with it. I am a big fan and while he may have gotten a bit lucky last year he just keeps getting better and better. Regression will only be small if at all this season. As stated he was the lesser of the big 3 and since they haven't been great, little has been expected of him. I like him and his stuff and he gets to pitch in the NL west.
Many points well taken here, but to further the Kennedy talk, let us strictly talk about 2012 and not beyond.
The velocity of Ian's fastball is a good point. Obviously, and average FB of 90.3mph isn't great by any means. However, he did average an extra 1mph from his 2010 performance. And back in 2009, though with an extremely limited sample size of 23 IP, his fastball almost averaged 92mph, which is much more reasonable. That said, any chance he increases the speed of his fastball? It did go up and he has show he can throw a league average FB velocity (albeit a small sample).
I see a lot of comments saying take Strasburg over Kennedy in a keeper/dynasty. Obviously, but I am talking 2012. I think it is safe to say that Kennedy should outperform both Strasburg (due to an innings cap) and Bumgardner (as his stuff isn't at his peak just yet)? Especially Strasburg in a H2H league, where Strasburg will be shut down while Kennedy is pitching in the NL West come playoff time.
More input appreciated, especially the Strasburg vs. Kennedy in 2012 debate.