KC Royals: Ten Things That Have Gone Right In 2016
By John Viril
3. Ian Kennedy Living Up To His Contract
Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore caught a lot of criticism from pundits and fans this winter after handing 31-year-old starting pitcher Ian Kennedy a five-year, $70 million deal. So far, Moore looks like he made a good decision.
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As recently as July 28, the Ian Kennedy contract looked like a big mistake. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com estimated that Moore had overpaid by around $30 million after Kennedy had an awful 4.41 ERA in July 25. Kennedy’s biggest problem in the first half of 2016 was his tendency to surrender the gopher ball. He gave up 26 dingers in his first 20 starts.
In five starts since then, Ian Kennedy has dominated opponents. Kennedy is 2-0, with a 0.79 ERA in his last five starts. He’s eaten 34.0 innings, which averages out to 6.8 innings per start. He’s also allowed a mere two home runs in those five games.
Kennedy Becomes Solid No. 2
Kennedy’s recent string has improved his season numbers to 8-9, 3.58 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 8.8 K/9 with 148.1 innings pitched in 25 starts. Baseball-Reference estimates he’s produced 2.9 bWAR so far this season.
Boy and Girls, that looks like a no. 2 pitcher—or a no. 3 on a good staff.
One of the big reasons for the KC Royals recent turnaround has been Ian Kennedy’s hot streak. Kennedy hasn’t just been good. He’s pitched like an ace. While I don’t expect him to perform like this the rest of the season, Kennedy has clearly adjusted to the league’s current home-run friendly environment.
Dayton Moore really needed the Ian Kennedy deal to work out for him. So far, it has.
Next: No. 2