There are several ways to find sleepers in fantasy baseball drafts. You can grab a player that is young and relatively unknown in the hopes that he finally has a breakout season.
Or there is the other side of the coin, in which you lock onto a player that had a miserable performance in the previous season in the hopes that he bounces back. One of these type of underrated hurlers to look for in the final round of drafts this spring is SP Ian Kennedy of the San Diego Padres.
Kennedy posted an awful 7-10 record in 2013 between San Diego and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He threw 181.1 innings, but his 4.91 ERA was much higher than his career 4.00 ERA. He also posted a high 1.40 WHIP and it was an all-around embarrassing fantasy campaign.
However, there are several reasons to think that the fireballer can get back on track this season.
Firstly, Kennedy still struck out plenty of batters in 2013. He racked up 8.09 K/9 and the right-hander was a decent source of strikeouts week after week.The veteran is strictly a fastball pitcher, as he used the heater 62.5% of the time throughout his career, and he loves to test opposing hitters inside.
Even better, Kennedy now moves to the pitcher-friendly confines of PetCo Park. The veteran is a fly-ball pitcher, as he recorded 327 FB outs compared to 218 GB outs. Naturally, playing with PetCo’s vast outfield behind him will help him keep the ball in the park much more next season and could help him bring his ERA back down to earth.
Kennedy will be a nice option to round out a fantasy rotation. He will come much cheaper after his near 5.00 ERA last year and will be a decent SP5 or SP6 to take a shot on in 2014 drafts.