After climbing up the ranks of the Padres’ farm system, Brett Kennedy will finally have his shot to pitch in the major leagues.
An 11th-round pick in 2015, Kennedy has gone 10-0 in 16 starts for Triple-A El Paso, pitching to a 2.73 ERA in the hitter-friendly PCL.
There was an open spot on the 25-man roster after Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles were jettisoned to St. Louis and Milwaukee respectively, and a Cal Quantrill promotion to Triple-A ensured that someone was going to be getting their shot at the major leagues. The call was to Kennedy, who will get his chance to show off his stuff in front of manager Andy Green and pitching coach Darren Balsley in an audition that has been three years in the making.
Kennedy has more than earned his chance to play for San Diego as he has posted a 1.12 WHIP along with an 8.06 K/9 and a 2.32 BB/9.
Pair those numbers with a 0.60 HR/9 and a 52.6% groundball rate, and Kennedy has been one of the more effective starters in the PCL as a whole. That 52.6% groundball rate is a 12.1% increase from his tenure in Double-A San Antonio in 2017, while his flyball rate has decreased from 39.3% in 2017 to a 26.7% in 2018.
These numbers could be the indicator as to why his HR/9 is so low, considering he pitches in the hitter’s paradise known as the PCL, as Kennedy has given up home runs to six of the 362 batters he has faced.
However, Kennedy could be on the receiving end of some good fortune. His 3.75 FIP and 3.88 xFIP show that Kennedy’s defense has been picking him up on more than one occasion, while his low home run count is also influencing both of those numbers. These numbers can be taken with a grain of salt considering the location and league that Kennedy pitches in. These numbers didn’t stop Kennedy from earning a spot on the Triple-A All-Star team, along with teammate Luis Urias, who also figures to get his shot in the Majors at some point this season.
The 23-year-old will most likely get the remainder of the season to stick in the rotation. Ross and Lyles have been claimed off waivers and are no longer with the team, while Luis Perdomo, Bryan Mitchell, and Clayton Richard have had their struggles all season long. Green has hinted that he wants to embrace younger pitching, a good sign for players like Kennedy and El Paso teammate Jake Nix, who could also get a chance come September.