Just over two years ago the Yanks spent the 21st overall pick in the draft on a polished college arm out of USC, one Mr. Ian Patrick Kennedy. The smallish righthander wasn’t your prototypical electric stuff guy, he was a high probabilty four pitch command guy that repeated his delivery like a robot. He was one of the unsexiest yet safest picks in the class.
Kennedy proved to be worth the pick his first full season as a professional baseball player, going 12-3 with a 1.91 ERA & 0.96 WHIP across three levels before being named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by milb.com, as well as Minor League Player of the Year by us here at RAB. He earned a September call-up and thrived in the shadow of Joba Chamberlain, twirling 19 innings of 236 ERA+ ball during the stretch run, including this gem up in Toronto. Baseball America rated him the 45th best prospect in the game during the offseason, and grabbed the sponsorship for his B-Ref page.
Kennedy was sidelined by a strain in his right lat-muscle for over a month this year, but has since returned to form during his rehab stint. Climbing the ladder from the Rooklie level GCL to Triple-A Scranton, Kennedy basically repeated his 2007 performance, posting a sub-2.00 ERA (1.99) and a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.88). He allowed 4 runs in his last 27 IP, including a near 7-inning no-hitter, before the Yanks once again called his name. Back home in front of friends and family tonight in Anaheim, Kennedy will look to stabilize a Yankee rotation plagued by injury and ineffectiveness.
Everyone deserves a second chance now and then. Kennedy starts fresh tonight.
Notes: You want a good omen for tonight? Well here’s one: the only other time tonight’s starters (IPK & Jered Weaver) faced off was this game back in 2004, the first time Kennedy ever pitched for USC … if that’s not a sign of Kennedy starting off fresh tonight, nothing is … Hideki Matsui felt no pain in his knee after working out yesterday, a good sign … in case of chest hair emergency, pull tab quickly and back away … sorry folks, no DotF tonight (life interrupts blogging sometimes), so here’s the scoreboards for AAA, AA, A+, A-, SS & Rk … you can get to the box scores from there …