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Entries in Ian Kennedy (2)

Monday
Jul012013

Nine to Know: June Pitching edition

 

  1. No team's pitchers went full more frequently in June than the Royals staff who had 158 full-counts, BUT, they held batters to a .170 BAA on full-counts, second best in baseball to the Giants pitchers who held batters to a .150 BAA on full-counts. 
  2. Angels pitchers produced the most swings and misses in June with 460, 133 more than the Twins who had the least.
  3. Oakland's pitchers only issued 60 walks in 27 games. The Rays pitchers threw the most strikes with 2668.
  4. Which pitcher was better in June, Miami's Jose Fernandez or Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke? Each starter had five starts, each averaged 6.47 IP per start, and each had a 1.67 ERA.

 

5.  Chris Sale induced 88 swings and misses, the most in June, but was 0-5 with 3.15 ERA.
6.  A.J. Griffin produced 20 pop-ups, the most in baseball.
7.  Yu Darvish had the most strikeouts with runners in in scoring position in June with 14, James Shields was next with 13.
8.  Ian Kennedy allowed five homers in June with runners on base, the most in baseball, but teammate Trevor Cahill allowed 24 hits with runners on base, the most in June.
9.  In five starts in June, facing the 3-4-5 batters in the lineup, no one had a lower BAA than Jacob Turner who held batters to .119, Shaun Marcum of the Mets was next at .129.

 

Tuesday
Sep202011

Kennedy's fastball-first approach

Ian Kennedy joined Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Brandon Webb in the Diamondback 20-win club last night, punching out 12 Pirates in eight scoreless innings. Kennedy's 20-W season doesn't quite call to mind those tour de force years that The Big Unit and Schilling had in 2001 and 2002, but the former Yankees prospect has clearly blossomed in 2011.

Kennedy has blown by the 200-inning mark while lowering his fielding independent ERA from 4.33 last year to 3.22. The biggest reason for that stellar FIP is that Kennedy has cut his walk rate from 3.3 batters per nine innings to 2.2. And for that, he can credit his fastball.

The 26-year-old righty has increased his fastball usage from 55 percent of his pitches in 2010 to 66 percent in 2011. No matter the count, the catcher is putting down one finger more often with Kennedy on the mound:

Kennedy's fastball percentage by count, 2010-2011

First Pitch: 60% in 2010, 72% in 2011

Even Counts: 59% in 2010, 69% in 2011

Hitter's Counts: 60% in 2010, 70% in 2011

Pitcher's Counts: 47% in 2010, 60% in 2011

His average fastball velocity is up a tick this year (from 89 mph to 90), and he's sitting closer to 91 this September. Interestingly, Kennedy seems to reach back for a little extra when he smells a strikeout: he averages 91.4 mph when throwing a fastball with two strikes, maxing out at 94.8 mph.

Kennedy isn't nibbling with his fastball, either. He's going right after hitters, placing 58 percent of his heaters in the strike zone. Among starting pitchers, only R.A. Dickey, Ted Lilly, Jeff Karstens, Cliff Lee, Randy Wolf and James Shields have put their fastballs over the plate more often.

That aggressiveness has paid off, as hitters have a paltry .225 average, .285 on-base percentage and a .350 slugging percentage versus Kennedy's fastball (the league averages for a fastball are .270/.345/.424).

Considered a reclamation project at the time of the three-team Granderson/Jackson/Scherzer swap in December of 2009, Kennedy is now a key reason why the D-Backs are postseason-bound for the first time since 2007.