Ian Kennedy‘s 2011 and 2012 seasons were actually very similar with one major difference: home runs allowed. Kennedy has always displayed slight fly ball tendencies, and in 2011 that wasn’t much of a problem. That year he allowed 19 homers with a 7.7% HR/FB rate, and he rode that below-league average mark to a surprising 2.88 ERA and a 21-win season.
In 2012, Kennedy posted almost the exact same strikeout and walk rates as 2011, and batters didn’t hit many extra fly balls against him (42.1 FB% in 2012 versus 39.5% in 2011). The difference was he allowed 28 homers on the back of a 10.8% HR/FB rate, a much more reasonable mark given the ballpark he plays in. In fact, over the last three seasons Diamondbacks pitchers have allowed homers on exactly 10.8% of the flies they’ve allowed, and that accounts for them playing half their games at Chase Field and half in road parks.
At a Glance
Strengths: W, K, QS
Neutral: ERA, WHIP, L, BB
Best-case scenario: James Shields (KC)
Likely scenario: A.J. Burnett (PIT), Ryan Dempster (BOS), Yovani Gallardo (MIL)
Worst-case scenario: Edwin Jackson (CHC)
Ian Kennedy 2013 Fantasy Projection
Kennedy’s success completely hinges on his ability to limit the long ball as well as limit the damage done by the inevitable blast. I expect him to lower his WHIP from last year (1.30), and that will help him keep his ERA under 4.00. Just don’t expect a repeat of 2011′s Cy Young caliber performance.
Even with his homer troubles, though, Kennedy is a durable starter who will top 200 innings (barring injury), approach 190-200 strikeouts, and probably win 15-18 games backed by a sneaky good Arizona lineup…as long as they don’t trade Justin Upton.