Monday, September 3, 2007
Ian Kennedy’s Debut
The Good: Kennedy’s velocity was a bit better than the “high 80s” thrown around by some in the prospect analysis community. In actuality, the range on his fastball was 87-92, which is more in line with the reports from Pinstripes Plus than anywhere else, so kudos to Patrick, Frankie, and the rest of the guys over there. The average velocity of the 54 fastballs thrown was 90.5. In addition to showcasing solid-good velocity, Kennedy had great fastball command. The home plate ump was a bit inconsistent, on both sides, but Kennedy did a great job of hitting the corners with his fastball.
Ian also showed flashes with his Vulcan change. The movement to the pitch was a bit funky because he places the ball between his middle and ring finger, forming the V for Vulcan. This was the pitch that he was able to fool left-handers with. Overall, he did a good job with this pitch.
The Bad: Kennedy also flashed his slider, curveball, and sinker on Saturday. On this day, I would say the slider probably showed the most promise. Despite that, I don’t think any of these pitches looked especially great (Don, don’t kill me). While the pitches themselves showed promise, Kennedy left more than his fair share of them up in the zone, so his command wasn’t great with respect to this portion of his arsenal. Fortunately, the Devil Rays were not able to take advantage of this and he escaped largely unscathed.
The Verdict: I was very pleased with Kennedy’s debut and feel he showed enough to warrant another start. With Hughes’ current struggles, I wouldn’t mind if the Yankees kept the 5-man rotation in tact just to have a better idea of who has the hot hand heading into October between the two rookies. I think Hughes has more long-term potential, but if at the end of the month the Yankees are in the playoffs and Kennedy has performed superior, he should get the post-season nod.
-The minor league season is, essentially, over. Austin Jackson was promoted to AAA as a reward for his great year and Marcos Vechionacci to AA as a reward for his hot finish. Both players will, almost assuredly, start next year for Trenton. AA will have its best collection of position player talent in quite some time between those two and Jose Tabata.
-The GCL Yankees won their league championship for what seems like the 12th time in the last 4 years. Jesus Montero, who very quietly had a good season, killed the ball in a small playoff sample. He hit .280/.366/.421 in 107 regular season ABs and then went 6 for 16 with a double, 2 homers, 2 walks and 4 Ks. Just a very solid year for a guy some wanted to write off so soon after being regarded as the best prospect on the international market.
-On a final, “funny” note, here at RLYW and within the Yankee blogosphere we’re all worried about Phil Hughes’ velocity. Hughes has been pitching at 90-93, touching 94. Within these same communities, we’re also all pleased with Kennedy’s velocity during his first game where he was 89-92. Over in Red Sox land, everyone is in love with Clay Bucholz. Bucholz is sitting 90-93. I’m not going to ignore that more troubling than Hughes’ velocity range has been his tendency to tire quickly, but for those who are dismayed regarding Hughes’ overall velocity…please calm down. Now, if only he could regain some feel for the change, we wouldn’t even have to have this discussion.
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