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Ian Kennedy
Ian Kennedy on June 4, 2016 (1).jpg
Kennedy pitching for the Kansas City Royals in 2016
Free agent
Born: (1984-12-19) December 19, 1984 (age 35)
Huntington Beach, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 2007, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
(through 2020 season)
Win–loss record97–105
Earned run average4.13
Career highlights and awards
Ian Kennedy
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
World University Championship
Gold medal – first place 2004 Tainan Team

Ian Patrick Kennedy (born December 19, 1984) is an American professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals.

Kennedy attended the University of Southern California (USC), where he played college baseball for the Trojans. He made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 2007, and was traded to the Diamondbacks after the 2009 season. Kennedy played for Arizona through 2013, when he was traded to the Padres. Since 2016, he has been a member of the Kansas City Royals.[1]

High school

Kennedy attended La Quinta High School in Westminster, California.[2] In his junior year, he was named CIF Division IV co-most valuable player, and earned the Orange County Register and Garden Grove League most valuable player honors, when he recorded 13 wins and led the county with a 0.38 ERA (five earned runs in 90​23 innings) and strikeouts (168) while batting .373 with seven home runs and 31 RBI.[3] In his senior year, he earned All-CIF Division IV honors.


Kennedy went on to play college baseball for University of Southern California. In Kennedy's first year at USC, he went 7–2 in 16 games, with a 2.91 earned run average (ERA) and one save. He pitched 92​23 innings, struck out 120, and walked 31. He also gave up 86 hits and allowed 34 runs, 30 of which were earned runs.

In his sophomore year, he went 12–3 in 18 games, with a 2.54 ERA and one complete game. He pitched 117 innings, struck out 158 (fourth-best in team history), and walked 38. He also gave up 171 hits, and had 33 earned runs out of 40 runs allowed.

As a junior at USC he pitched in 16 games, 15 of them starts. He went 5–7 with 102 strikeouts and posted a 3.90 ERA. He pitched 101​23 innings, walked 38, and gave up 44 earned runs. Entering his senior year, Kennedy was 24–12 in 50 games, pitching 311​13 innings. He had a strikeout total of 380, an ERA of 3.12, and had walked a total of 107 batters.

In 2005 Kennedy made the USC single-season strikeout list, striking out 158 batters, fourth on the list, behind Mark Prior, Seth Etherton, and Walt Peterson. Kennedy has a 12.15 strikeouts per nine innings ratio, which is fifth best in his school's history. He was also selected for the U.S. National Team twice. Kennedy was named a first-team All-American after both his freshman and sophomore years, and was also named to the Preseason All-American first team in 2006 and the USA's Junior National Team in 2002. In 2005, he became the eighth pitcher in USC history to be named the Pac-10 Conference "Pitcher of the Year."

Professional career

Minor leagues

Kennedy was drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round (21st overall) of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft, earning a $2.25 million signing bonus.[4] "I would like to go out and play", he said, "start my professional career. The earlier the better. I imagine it's not going to be very long before I start. At least that's what I'm hoping. If it does take a while, I'm ready for that – but I want to go out and play."[citation needed] He consistently throws his fastball around 91–92 mph, he is known for his pitching finesse to retire hitters.[5]

Kennedy was previously drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 14th round (425th overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft, but he didn't sign with them. He joins Randy Johnson, Mark Prior, Tom Seaver, and Barry Zito on the list of pitchers drafted out of USC.[6]

Kennedy pitched 2.2 innings for the Staten Island Yankees of the New York–Penn League, a short-season class A league, in 2006. In 2007, he began the season with the A Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League, posting a 6–1 record with a 1.29 ERA in 63 innings, while striking out 72 and only walking 22. He was promoted to the AA Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, where he posted a 5–1 record with a 2.59 ERA in 48.2 innings, while striking out 57 and only walking 17.

On July 24, 2007, Kennedy was promoted to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. He posted a 1–1 record there with a 2.08 ERA in six starts, striking out 34 and walking just 11 in 34.2 innings.

New York Yankees

Kennedy pitching for the New York Yankees in 2008
Kennedy pitching for the New York Yankees in 2008

Kennedy made his major league debut with the New York Yankees on September 1, 2007 in place of Mike Mussina, to whom he has been compared.[7] He earned the win, allowing three runs (only one earned run) in seven innings, striking out six, walking two, and allowing five hits. Kennedy said before his first game:

I didn't want to be shellshocked. I wanted to act like I belong here. It's a dream come true. You see the stadium on TV and you wish and hope you'll be out there like those guys.[8]

On November 28, 2007 Kennedy was named the 26th best prospect by Minor League Baseball's official website.[9]

Despite having been replaced by Kennedy in the rotation in 2007, Mussina became a mentor for Kennedy and other young pitchers on the Yankee roster even requesting that Kennedy and Phil Hughes receive lockers next to his during 2008 spring training.[10]

On May 4, 2008 Kennedy was demoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a poor start to the 2008 season. Ian dominated in his first start back with AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre, tossing 7.1 innings of 1-hit ball while striking out eight.

On May 28, 2008, after enduring a strained right lat muscle, and being diagnosed with bursitis behind the scapular, Kennedy was placed on the DL, expected to miss at least 15 days. He returned to the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, struggling in his first few starts before going on a three-game tear. From July 19 to 29, Kennedy pitched 20 innings, allowing 7 hits which yielded 3 runs, while collecting 14 Ks, and walking only 4. On July 24, Kennedy had another no-hitter broken up, after pitching a dominant 6​23 innings.

Kennedy made his return to the major leagues on August 8, starting in place of an injured Joba Chamberlain. After a poor outing against the Angels, in which he surrendered 5 runs in 2 innings, Kennedy was optioned in favour of Billy Traber on August 10.[11][12]

Kennedy was diagnosed with an aneurysm under his right armpit and underwent surgery May 12, 2009, at Roosevelt Hospital in New York under the care of Dr. George Todd, the same doctor who performed David Cone's procedure on an aneurysm in 1996.[13]

On September 19, Ian Kennedy was called up from the minors. On September 23, Kennedy made an appearance against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He hit one batter and walked two others, but allowed no hits while pitching a scoreless 8th inning.[14]

Kennedy was not on the post-season roster for the Yankees during their run towards winning the 2009 World Series.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Kennedy pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013
Kennedy pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013

In December 2009, Ian Kennedy went to the Diamondbacks in a three-way trade with the Detroit Tigers and the Yankees, in which Detroit received Austin Jackson and Phil Coke from the Yankees and Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from the Diamondbacks, the Yankees received Curtis Granderson from the Tigers, and the Diamondbacks also received Edwin Jackson from the Tigers.[15]

In Kennedy's first appearance for Arizona, he pitched two scoreless innings in a rain-shortened game. He got his first win as a Diamondback on April 29, going 8 innings, while allowing 6 hits which led to 4 runs and striking out 6. On August 26, Kennedy struck out a career-high 12 batters, while allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks in 7 innings against the San Diego Padres. Despite posting an ERA of 3.80 (including a 3.34 ERA in the second half of the season) across 32 starts and striking out 168 in 194 innings, his record stood at 9-10 due to a weak bullpen as the Diamondbacks finished the season 32 games under .500 and last in the NL West.

Kennedy was named the Diamondbacks' 2011 Opening Day starting pitcher. [16] On April 25, Kennedy threw the first complete game of his career, a three-hit shutout at Chase Field, outdueling 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. He struck out ten strikeout and gave up no walks in a 4–0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Kennedy continued to pitch very well through the first half of the season, matching his win total from the previous year by his final start before the All-Star break. At that time, he was 9–3 in 19 starts with a 3.44 ERA in ​128 13 innings. After a strong first half, Kennedy performed magnificently following the All Star break, with the Diamondbacks winning in all but one of his remaining starts. This included a streak of winning a career-high seven consecutive starts (starting from July 8) where he posted a 2.44 ERA in 48 innings. A three-inning start in a loss to the Phillies on August 18 snapped this streak. Kennedy then proceeded to win six of his last seven starts, posting a 1.66 ERA and allowing just one home run during that span. On September 19, Kennedy earned his 20th win of the season after striking out a career-high 12 batters over eight shutout innings in a 1–0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, becoming the first 20-game winner in the National League that year, and just the fourth Diamondbacks pitcher with a 20+ win season. Kennedy finished the second half of the season with 12 wins (tied with that year's Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander for the most in the majors following the All Star break) against just one loss, while posting a 2.11 ERA in 14 starts (the third-best mark in the majors).

The Diamondbacks ended up coming back from their last place finish in 2010 by clinching the NL West division title on September 23 with a 3–1 victory over the Giants, their first division title (and first postseason appearance) since 2007. They finished the season with a 94-68 record (their best since 2002). Facing off against the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2011 NLDS, Kennedy was tabbed to start Game 1 against Milwaukee's ace Yovani Gallardo at Miller Park. He took the loss after giving up four earned runs over ​6 13 innings. Kennedy would face off against Gallardo once again in Game 5. This time, he gave up just two earned runs in six innings of work, but received a no-decision as the Brewers won 3-2 after Nyjer Morgan's walk-off single in the 10th inning, eliminating the Diamondbacks from the postseason.

Kennedy finished the 2011 season with a stellar 21–4 record and a 2.88 ERA over 33 starts. His .840 win-loss percentage for the season led the major leagues and remains the best ever single-season win-loss percentage from a Diamondbacks starting pitcher,[17] while his 21 wins were tied with Kershaw for the most in the National League that year. Kennedy ranked among the league leaders in all other major pitching categories as well. He was seventh in the NL in ERA (2.88), fifth in innings pitched (222), fourth in games started (33), twentieth in complete games (1), sixth in shutouts (1), eighth in strikeouts (198), fifth in opponent batting average (.227), sixth in WHIP (1.09), sixth in hit batters (9), fifth in H/9 (7.54), fifteenth in K/9 (8.03), fourteenth in BB/9 (2.23), seventh in K/BB (3.60), thirteenth in FIP (3.22), ninth in batters faced (900), fifth in quality starts (24), ninth in number of pitches thrown (3,424), fifth in adjusted ERA+ (137), fifth in bWAR (4.8) and eighth in fWAR (4.4). Kennedy received the Diamondbacks Pitcher of the Year Award as well as the Breakout Everyday Player of the Year Award. He placed fourth in the balloting for the NL Cy Young Award behind Kershaw, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee and 14th for the NL MVP Award.

Kennedy was selected to be the Opening Day starter for the second year in a row in 2012, earning his first ever Opening Day win after throwing ​6 23 innings of three-run ball against the Giants. The season as a whole was not as stellar as he was in 2011. He finished with a strong record of 15–12 and 187 strikeouts in ​208 13 innings across 33 starts, but with a 4.02 ERA. The 216 hits he gave up were the second most in the National League and batters hit .266 against him, while he gave up nearly 50% more home runs (28) than the previous year (19) in fewer innings (0.77 HR/9 in 2011 vs. 1.21 HR/9 in 2012) and posted a much higher WHIP of 1.30. Though Kennedy still pitched solidly as a whole, turning in 20 quality starts in 33 outings, his ERA was affected by his differences in pitching winning vs. non-winning games. In the 15 starts he received the win, Kennedy posted a 1.94 ERA in 102 innings, struck out 8.65 batters per nine innings, gave up just seven home runs (0.62 HR/9), and posted quality starts in all but one outing. Meanwhile, in his 18 non-winning starts, Kennedy's ERA ballooned to 6.01 in ​106 13 innings, his strikeouts per nine innings dropped to 7.53, he gave up 21 home runs (1.78 HR/9) and delivered only six quality outings.

Kennedy was tabbed for a third consecutive Opening Day start in 2013, earning the win after a seven inning, two-run outing against the Cardinals. On June 11, 2013, Kennedy was ejected from a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers after hitting both Yasiel Puig in the nose and Zack Greinke in the shoulder with pitches, the second of which ignited a bench-clearing brawl.[18] He was suspended 10 games by MLB for the incident, the first pitcher to get that type of suspension in eight years.[19] He began the 2013 season 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts with the Diamondbacks.

San Diego Padres

Kennedy pitching for the San Diego Padres in 2015
Kennedy pitching for the San Diego Padres in 2015

On July 31, 2013, Kennedy was traded to the San Diego Padres for Joe Thatcher, Matt Stites, and a compensatory draft pick.[20] Kennedy was immediately added to the Padres rotation. He started 10 games for the Padres, going 4-2 with a 4.24 ERA and 55 strike-outs in 57​13 innings.

In the 2014 season, Kennedy reached 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career, becoming the fourth Padres pitcher to reach that mark and first since Jake Peavy did it in 2007. He finished 13-13 with an ERA of 3.63.

The following season, in 2015, he lost a career-high 15 games, finishing with just 9 wins. For the 2015 season he led the majors in giving up the most home runs per nine innings (1.66), and in giving up the highest percentage of hard-hit balls (35.2%).[21][22]

Kansas City Royals

On January 29, 2016, Kennedy signed a 5-year, $70 million contract with the Kansas City Royals.[23] In his first season in Kansas City, he rebounded from his 2015 season, going 11-11 with a 3.68 ERA in 33 starts. In ​195 23 innings, he struck out 184.

In 2017, his second season with the team, he pitched poorly, finishing the season with a record of 5-13 with a career high 5.38 ERA and a career low 154 innings. In 2018, Kennedy landed twice on the disabled list with an oblique injury, and was 3-9 with a 4.66 ERA.[24] He was limited to 22 starts.

During spring training of 2019, the Royals moved Kennedy to the bullpen to make him a relief pitcher.[25][26] He recorded 30 saves in 63 games, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. He struck out 73 in ​63 13 innings.

With the 2020 Kansas City Royals, Kennedy appeared in 15 games, compiling a 0-2 record with 9.00 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched.[27]

Pitching style

As a starting pitcher, Kennedy throws two fastballs (four-seam, two-seam) sitting 91-92 mph (tops out at 95-96 mph), a high-70s knuckle-curve, a mid-80s cutter, and an above-average Vulcan changeup, which is his best pitch.[28][29][30]

Kennedy moved into a relief role in 2019. His average fastball velocity increased nearly three mph (91 to 94) from last season,[31] and he recorded a career-high 97 mph.[32]

Personal life

Kennedy was born at Long Beach Memorial hospital on December 19, 1984. His parents are Sean and Teri Kennedy. Ian has one younger sister, Kandice. Kennedy lived in Garden Grove, Ca from the age of 2 until 13 years old when his family moved to Huntington Beach, Ca. Kennedy played Garden Grove Pony Baseball from the age of 4.5yrs until 12yrs old. Kennedy also played travel baseball from the age of 10yrs until 14yrs. Kennedy attended La Quinta High School in Westminster, Ca from 1999 until 2003. He then attended USC until 2006 when he was drafted by the Yankees in the first round.

In October 2007, Kennedy married USC basketball player Allison Jaskowiak in a ceremony outside of St. Louis. None of his teammates on the Yankee playoff roster could attend the wedding as they were in the middle of the playoff series against the Cleveland Indians. Kennedy said of his wedding:

I was thinking, what's more nerve-racking, pitching in the big leagues for the first time or getting married? It's a different emotion. I don't cry too much, but it was emotional.[33]

After the two were wed, the couple walked up the aisle to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".[33]

Kennedy and his wife, Allison, have six children: four daughters and two sons.

He is 6' 0" tall and weighs 190 pounds.[34]


  1. ^ "Royals' Ian Kennedy on watching playoffs on TV: 'It fuels that fire'" Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  2. ^ Kepner, Tyler (March 6, 2008). "Taking Control of His Future". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  3. ^ "Player Bio: Ian Kennedy". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  4. ^ "Ian Kennedy's shaping up as Yanks' mini-Mike Mussina". Daily News. New York. August 30, 2007.
  5. ^ "Vote for Ian Kennedy as potential heir to Greg Maddux's cerebral legacy". Daily News. New York. March 11, 2008.
  6. ^ "Southern California's Ian Kennedy". Baseball America. January 20, 2006. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  7. ^ Kepner, Tyler (August 30, 2007). "In Kennedy, Yankees See Familiar Approach". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Battista, Judy (September 2, 2007). "Kennedy's Debut a Success for Yankees". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  9. ^ "Minor League Baseball: News: Top Prospects". Retrieved November 28, 2007.
  10. ^ [1] Archived March 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Anthony DiComo (August 10, 2008). "Yanks option Kennedy, recall Traber". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  12. ^ Anthony DiComo (December 30, 2010). "Kennedy hit hard as Yankees fall". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  13. ^ "New York Yankees' Oam Kennedy on schedule to pitch this season". July 24, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  14. ^ Bryan Hoch (September 23, 2009). "Yanks turn tables on Halos, take seriesws". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  15. ^ Brown, Tim (December 8, 2009). "Granderson goes to Yankees in three-team deal". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  16. ^ "Ian Kennedy named D-backs' Opening Day starter". Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  17. ^ "Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Pitching Leaders". Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  18. ^ "Benches clear twice, six ejected in LA". June 12, 2013.
  19. ^ "MLB suspends Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy 10 games, others receive punishment". June 14, 2013.
  20. ^ Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports (July 31, 2013). "Diamondbacks deal Ian Kennedy to Padres". Retrieved August 1, 2013.The Kansas City Royals have made a move to bolster their starting rotation, reportedly signing Ian Kennedy to a five-year, $70 million contract.
  21. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2015 » Pitchers » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball
  22. ^ Major League Leaderboards » 2015 » Pitchers » Batted Ball Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball
  23. ^ "Royals sign Ian Kennedy". Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  24. ^ Royals put starter Ian Kennedy back on disabled list
  25. ^ Ellis, Bob. "Could Ian Kennedy be a dominant reliever?". SB Nation. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  26. ^ Newell, Jesse. "The secret to Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy's fast start as a reliever in 2019". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Player Card: Ian Kennedy". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  29. ^ "FanGraphs Ian Kennedy Pitch FX". Retrieved February 7, 2014.
  30. ^ "Ian Kennedy pitches Yanks past Tampa". Daily News. New York. September 2, 2007.
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b "Yankees rookie pitcher Ian Kennedy marries USC basketball player". ESPN. October 6, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2008.
  34. ^ "The Phil Hughes Weblog". Retrieved October 6, 2011.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 October 2020, at 19:08
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