A couple nights ago, I sat down to do a Quick Look at two pitchers, Brett Kennedy and Tommy Milone. Both had horrible starts with game ERA’s over 10 and lost quite of bit of fantasy value. After watching each start, both pitchers may end up being usable but owners will need to proceed with caution.
I’ve anticipated this callup for a while after prospect pitcher finder spotted him earlier in the season. Before his major league debut, 24-year-old righty was projected to the be the Padres best starter by ERA. After the start, he dropped below Joey Lucchesi.
The 11th round draft pick was never on anyone’s prospect radar but he has been tearing up the PCL with a 10-0 record, 2.72 ERA, and an 8.1 K/9.
Kennedy got rocked in the first inning when he gave up three straight home runs to Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw, and Eric Thames. The worst part for Kennedy is he almost struck Aguilar struck on this pitch.
It all went downhill from there. He did get Thames to strike out on three straight sliders later in the game.
Fastball (above video): His straight fastball sat at 91-96 mph. Coming into the game, his fastball was reported to be at 91-92 mph. During the first inning, it sat 93-96 mph and I wondered if a velocity jump caused the talent increase. Nope. He couldn’t keep up the speed.
For now, owners can’t know where his velocity sits. If I was to guess, he was overthrowing to start the game and his normal velocity is at the lower end but there is no way to know for sure.
The 83-86 mph slider was inconsistent. Sometimes it didn’t break and other times it had a nice sweeping action like the one above.
When going right, his change had a nice 12-6 break at 84-86 mph. Other times, it just hung there. Again, he might have been over throwing it. It has the speed and shape of a split-finger fastball.
Overall: Kennedy is intriguing, but I want to see more before buying. The fastball velocity confuses me as I don’t know where it sits or if it always loses velocity during a game. I don’t think he’s rosterable in a 15-team league at this point unless the team as a deep bench. I’m cautiously optimistic.
What a difference one game makes. In the two starts coming into last night’s game, he had a 3.00 ERA with even lower ERA estimators. His ERA is now over 5.00 with his estimators around 3.50. I knew it was only two starts but productive starters aren’t going to stay on the waiver wire. I needed to come up with a buy-sell decision before he was owned.
The main reason for his positive results was that both his change (26% SwStr%) and slider (18% SwStr%) improved. They’ve been performing better, but it’s not enough.
Change: At 80-mph, it has some late drop with possibly some glove side run.
It’s a plus change with good deception and movement.
Slider: it’s a 72-78 mph slow slurve and has been labeled both a curve and slider so far this season. Or at least the pitches same shape and velocity.
Usually, these slower loopy pitches get crushed (vs. .304 wOBA) but I wonder if the hitters are sitting fastball. It’s an acceptable third or fourth pitch.
Overall: Milone is just a streaming option against lefty-heavy lineups (.112 wOBA vs LHP, .423 vs RHP). While his two breaking pitches generate swings-and-misses, he can’t throw them for strikes (Zone% is 26% on change and 35% on the slider). If he falls behind in the count, he’s forced to come back with his fastball and it gets crushed. He’s gone from completely unrosterable to sometimes usable.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.