Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Yankees Top Prospects - #4. Ian Kennedy

BA report on IPK -

4. Ian Kennedy, rhp Born: Dec. 19, 1984. • B-T: R-R. • Ht.: 6-0. • Wt.: 190.

Drafted: Southern California, 2006 (1st round). • Signed by: Bill Mele/Jeff Patterson.

Background: A high school teammate of Rockies third-base prospect Ian Stewart, Kennedy went to Southern California while Stewart signed out of high school. They both made their big league debuts in 2007 after Kennedy ranked third in the minors in ERA (1.91) in his pro debut. Though he pitched well in three starts with the Yankees, they left him off their postseason roster because he had a minor back injury.

Strengths: Kennedy has mound presence and moxie to go with above-average major league command, and that helps all his pitches play up. His 88-92 mph fastball, his curveball and his slider all are average pitches. His plus changeup is his best offering, featuring late fade. He repeats his compact delivery.

Weaknesses: With only one above-average pitch, Kennedy has to hit his spots, but he usually does. At times his curve is too slow, dipping to 69-72 mph, and lacks sharpness.

The Future: Compared to Mike Mussina because of his similar stretch delivery, Kennedy has less pure stuff than Mussina once did. Kennedy fits a No. 3 or No. 4 starter profile and should fulfill such a role in 2008

IPK fans don't fret - in 1995 BA listed Chris Carpenter the 100th ranked prospect in all of baseball and anticipated he would be either a #5 starter or a long reliever. Prospects with command, poise and an ability to get guys out typically don't grade very well in these types of lists, but can still be top of the rotation pitchers.

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