I’ve never been a Kyle Kendrick fan. He’s strictly a ground ball pitcher who pitches to contact and tries to get hitters to make outs. He doesn’t strike out a high percentage of batters and he’s making $7.5 million over two years, even though he’s not worth close that much.
Kendrick is 7-9 with a 4.12 ERA this year – pretty much numbers you would expect from Kendrick. Since joining the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2007, he is 50-39 with a 4.36 ERA and a 4.5 strikeout rate that rates as the eighth-lowest among all 274 qualifying pitchers during that span.
Kendrick has been very inconsistent during his career, although he’s shown signs this year that he can be a starter again in 2013. Kendrick has put together two separate streaks of at least 20 consecutive scoreless innings in a row, and he’s suddenly become dominant since July 6. Kendrick is 5-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 44 innings pitched. He’s held opposing hitters to just a .200 batting average and .563 OPS, and his 32 strikeouts to 10 walks shows he’s inducing a higher percentage of swing-and-misses than ever before.
Then again, the Phillies really like having Kendrick as a long reliever that can step into the rotation if necessary. The team will be bringing back Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Vance Worley for next season, and there’s a chance Tyler Cloyd could win the fifth spot. If the team keeps Kendrick in the bullpen, they can just slide him into the rotation when there’s an injury.
Kendrick has been more successful in the bullpen than in the rotation – he has a 2-1 record and 3.95 ERA out of the ‘pen with a 6.6 strikeout rate as a reliever while he’s 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA and 6.4 strikeout rate as a starter. Since 2007, he’s 7-4 with a 3.50 ERA as a reliever, while he’s 43-35 with a 4.44 ERA as a starter. That’s an earned run average nearly a full run higher as a starter, which means it may be best utilizing him as a long reliever and spot starter rather than the fifth starter at the beginning of the season.