It wasn’t long ago that Ian Kennedy was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. It was 2011, in fact, when Kennedy finished fourth in the Cy Young voting in the National League after posting a 21-4 record, 2.88 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the season the New York Yankees thought were possible when they drafted Kennedy in the first round of the 2006 MLB Draft before trading him as part of the trade that brought them Curtis Granderson.
Kennedy, however, struggled a little in 2012, posting a still respectable 15-12 record, 4.02 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Kennedy got off to a terrible start with the Diamondbacks in 2013. He posted a bloated 5.23 ERA and 1.41 WHIP and just never got close to the pitcher he showed he was capable of being in 2011. Thanks to a trade to the San Diego Padres, Kennedy is getting a fresh start.
Kennedy has already seen some success with the Padres and has posted a 3-1 record and 3.76 ERA and averaging over a strikeout more per inning at 8.87 K/9. He now pitches in a more pitcher friendly park at Petco Park and should find it more comfortable in San Diego which is not far from where he grew up in Orange County.
The Padres should be in good shape for next season with Kennedy as their number one starter. He won’t put up eye-popping numbers but Kennedy should be a steadying influence on a staff that lacked a number one starter this season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Kennedy return more to his 2011 form than his early 2013 form.