Kansas City Royals: Ian Kennedy Has Explanation for Rough 2017


Ian Kennedy had a rough 2017 campaign for the Kansas City Royals. At least he thinks he knows where it all went wrong.

For a time, Ian Kennedy was exactly the pitcher the Kansas City Royals needed in 2017. After the sudden and devastating passing of Yoradno Ventura, the the Royals needed a pitcher to step into his role in the rotation. Kennedy had done just that, posting a 2.30 ERA and a 0.987 WHiP in April.

Unfortunately for Kennedy, the 2017 campaign continued beyond April. He had a rough outing on May 4, and promptly went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. He returned three weeks later, but was not nearly as effective. By the end of the season, Kennedy had posted a 5-13 record, along with a 5.38 ERA and a 1.325 WHiP. His struggles over the final five months made his decision to opt in to the final three years of his contract an easy one to make.

However, Kennedy thinks he knows what went wrong last year. He said his hamstring injury never fully healed, as he felt those problems when he was throwing his changeup. Those hamstring issues continued to get worse throughout the year, robbing Kennedy of one of his more effective pitches.

More from Call to the Pen

In some ways, Kennedy had a relatively solid year. Opponents had a .246 batting average against Kennedy, and a .320 on base percentage, both numbers in line with his career norms. His 23% line drive rate from 2017 matched his career average.

Interestingly, Kennedy’s problems with his changeup really appeared to come over the last two months. Opponents had a 1.100 sluggling percentage against the change in August, and a .750 slugging percentage in September. However, Kennedy had similar problems with each of his pitches, as he had essentially become a batting practice pitcher over the last two months of the year.

Although Kennedy said that his hamstring was acting up on the changeup, it was not just that pitch that was getting hit. His hamstring woes may well have caused issues with his other offerings, particularly at the end of the season. The pain, or fatigue, may just have been more noticeable on that one pitch.

Next: Morrison wants to be Royal

Ian Kennedy thinks he knows why his 2017 campaign went awry. The Kansas City Royals are certainly hoping that he is correct.