Name: Ian Kennedy
Team: New York Yankees
Drafted: 14th Round (425th overall) in 2003 by the St. Louis Cardinals – Did not sign; 1st Round (21st overall) in 2006 by the New York Yankees.
Kennedy was an All Division High School pitcher, which lead to his selection by the Cardinals in the 14th round of the 2003 draft. He decided to honor his commitment to the University of Southern California.
He had a standout career at USC. Through 3 years at the school, he was 24-12 with 3.12 ERA and 380 strikeouts. He ranked fourth on USC’s Single Season Strikeout total (behind Mark Prior, Seth Etherton, and Walt Peterson) with 158 in his sophomore season. He earned First-Team All American honors in 2004 and 2005, was selected to the USA National team twice, and became the eighth USC pitcher to be named the PAC-10 “Pitcher of the Year.”
It also led to a first round selection by the Yankees in the 2006 draft. He pitched 2.2 innings for the Staten Island Yankees after being selected (he pitched 101+ innings in college that year, so I assumed the Yankees didn’t want to wear his arm out).
He started 2007 with the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League (High A). His stellar numbers lead to a promotion after 11 games; he moved to the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League. He picked up where he left off at his previous stop; he had good strikeout numbers and his strikeout to walk ratio was incredible. By the end of July, Kennedy was pitching in Triple A for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. He took a little hit with the promotion, but still had pretty good numbers.
He earned a September call up and filled in for the struggling Mike Mussina. He won his first start, allowing 1 earned run in 7 innings.
He started this season penciled in to the Yankees rotation, but was demoted last week after a rough start. He went back to his dominant ways in his first start back in Scranton/WB: 7.1 innings, 1 hit, 8 strikeouts.
Kennedy isn’t an overpowering pitcher; he works the plate with finesse. He has 4 pitches: a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a knuckle-curve, a slider, and a changeup. Some noted that his first start came in place of Mike Mussina, one of the top finesse pitchers of the last 15 years. Mussina has taken Kennedy under his wing to help him with the adjustment of professional baseball – he requested that Kennedy’s locker be next to his in spring training.
Rookie Cards (base):
2006 Tri-Star Prospect Plus 7
2008 Upper Deck 323
He’s already seen time in the Majors, but should be back up when he either gets his game back on track or when a Yankee Starter gets hurt.