Kyle Kendrick, Unsung Hero

Kyle Kendrick will become a two-month old Major Leaguer on August 13. If you hadn’t just read that, you never would’ve guessed he’s just a rookie.

The kid — 23 years old on August 24 — doesn’t have dominating stuff, and he isn’t a menace on the mound like Roger Clemens or Carlos Zambrano are. He throws a high-80’s, low-90’s fastball with heavy sinking action, a change-up, and a slider. Pitching at home in the bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park, a sinkerball is an extremely effective pitch for any pitcher, but especially one who doesn’t strike anyone out. His ground ball rate is extremely high.

Kyle Kendrick

In Kendrick’s 11 big-league starts, 8 of them have been quality starts and his quality start percentage ranks 18th in the Majors. Add to that his 119 ERA+ (for comparison, Cole Hamels’ is 122), and you have yourself a quality Major League arm.
Remember, this kid is not even 23 and has a Major League tenure just nearing two months. He was in AA Reading at the time the Phillies called on him, and not much was expected of him. The Phillies had already suffered blows to the starting rotation with the season-ending injury to Jon Lieber, and the potentially season-ending injury to Freddy Garcia.

Everyone in Philadelphia would have been pleased with Kendrick as long as he didn’t turn in Adam Eaton-esque performances. Instead, he’s pitched his way into the team’s 2008 starting rotation most likely (you never know with the Phillies, as Chris Coste earned a spot on the opening day roster for this season, but he started in AAA Ottawa and didn’t get called up until May 14, then was sent back down on May 24).

Looking ahead, here’s what the Phillies’ 2008 rotation could look like:

Cole Hamels

Adam Eaton

Jamie Moyer

Kyle Kendrick

Free agent/Trade/Brett Myers/J.D. Durbin/J.A. Happ

That’s not that bad, is it?

Thank you, Kyle Kendrick, for not only stabilizing the Phillies’ starting rotation for 2007, but also for 2008.

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5 comments

  1. billbaer

    August 11, 2007 08:29 PM

    He has nearly 70 innings this season.

    Per Wikipedia:

    …a player must not exceed either of the following, prior to the season under consideration:

    – 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues
    – 45 days on the active rosters of major league clubs (excluding time on the disabled list or any time after rosters are expanded on September 1)

  2. Cameron

    August 11, 2007 08:11 PM

    that was a good article, is he still qualified as a rookie for ’08?</p>

  3. dadlak

    August 16, 2007 10:33 PM

    The 2008 pitching rotation doesn’t look all that impressive to me. Moyer will be another year over 40. Eaton has been terrible this year. Hamels is a star; maybe Kendrik is OK, but we’ve had other 60-inning or more wonders over the years (Bruce Ruffin and a guy from Louisiana whose name I don’t remember). I like the looks of Myers back in the rotation. He was our ace not long ago. Here’s hoping that Gillick can find us another pitcher or two, or that someone else can help from AAA.

  4. dadlak

    August 18, 2007 12:22 AM

    I remembered the Louisianan’s name–Carlton Loewer.

  5. billbaer

    August 18, 2007 11:16 PM

    Dadlak, I have a feeling Eaton won’t be in the starting rotation next season unless we suffer another rash of injuries.

    Myers is a lights-out closer, but I would like to see the Phillies groom Scott Mathieson as a closer, and put Myers back in the rotation.

    Our rotation could be Hamels, Kendrick, Myers, Moyer, and “unknown.”

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