which made his stock drop which was probably the main reason he fell to the Yanks at all. He did not sign in time to see much regular minor league action in 2006 but was able to pitch in the Hawaiian winter league. Kennedy tore through the minors in 2007 and made it to the show.
On the surface, Kennedy's 1.87 minor league ERA is pretty damn impressive. However, to properly contextualize it we should look at his MLEs (major league equivalencies).
He finished his season off with three effective starts in the bigs.
Kennedy wasn't projected coming into 2007 so we can't really compare what he actually did to what he was projected to do, but I think it's safe to say he exceeded expectations.
Fairly or not, the knock on Kennedy is his ceiling. Since he doesn't throw in the mid 90s he's not expected to be much better than a third starter. I'd say it's too early to definitively make that assessment, but I don't disagree that physically the label fits. Still, there's nothing wrong with having a third starter making league minimum plus his signing bonus. Here's how the various projection systems see Kennedy in 2008.
The consensus is that Kennedy should be better than league average. His projected innings are low, he threw around 160 innings last year. He can probably pitch 180 or so if he stays healthy, so that would up his RSAA(runs saved above average) to about 8 and his RSAR(runs saved above replacement) to about 25. I'd caution that we only have one year of data when we are projecting Kennedy which means the reliability of his projection is probably pretty small.
Here's the range of projections that CAIRO has for IPK:
CAIRO doesn't see greatness from Kennedy in 2008, but it doesn't see disaster either.
Rookie pitcher who projects to be better than league average? I smell cost-effiency.
|Proj WAR||Proj Value||Salary||Difference|
The young Mussina comp doesn't really work with Kennedy. Young Moose threw 92-95 mph. I see Kennedy more as a Brad Radke type pitcher right now, with an average fastball and a great changeup. Radke had two very good seasons and a bunch of above average seasons, and I think that right now that's the way I'd see Kennedy profiling. Of course, Kennedy could exceed that. Regardless, for 2008 I have a good feeling that Kennedy will be solid in the back of the Yankee rotation, and will probably end up pitching the most innings of any non-Wang/Pettitte starter.
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