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August 3, 2013

Fantasy Forecast: Change of scenery could be good for Kennedy

The MLB trade deadline came and went on Wednesday and it was rather anticlimatic. There were few trades and even fewer big names being thrown around.

There was little fantasy impact as well, but one player who I think was affected by his trade to a new team is Ian Kennedy.

Kennedy has struggled this season to the tune of 3-8, 5.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .268 batting average against. Looking at his numbers over the last few seasons, he has been absolutely moving in the wrong direction since his breakout season in 2011 in which he went 21-4 with 198 strikeouts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. His walks per nine (3.48) and homers per nine (1.31) are at a career-high rate and his strikeout percentage has decreased each of the last two seasons.

However, let’s not forget that he’s been pitching at a hitter’s haven in Arizona. Chase Field has perhaps scarred him a little. His pitch velocity hasn’t really changed, although he has moved away from his slider in the last few years and this year in particular has added a cutter.

Moving to Petco should help him seeing as how he has a flyball percentage of 39.1 percent this year and a home run to flyball ratio of 12.5 percent (a career-high). He is 7-2 in 13 career starts at Petco with a 3.05 ERA. Perhaps working with new manager Bud Black, a former pitching coach, could help as well. Kennedy is owned in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he’s readily available. Even if you don’t want to rush out to add him, at least keep an eye on him for improvement.

It’s hard to believe that a guy who is still under 30 and was a 21-game winner two seasons ago with nearly 200 strikeouts and has been fairly healthy is broken beyond repair. That’s why I’m bullish on Kennedy after this trade to San Diego.

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