Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy

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Ian Kennedy with the Yankees

December 19, 1984
195 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-01-2007 with NYA

Ian Patrick Kennedy (born December 19, 1984, in Huntington Beach, California) is a right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is 6' 0" tall, weighs 190 pounds, and is commonly known as "Ike" or "IPK" by teammates.[1] He throws a fastball touching 94 mph, curveball, cutter, and an above-average changeup.[2]

High School

Kennedy attended La Quinta High School in Westminster, California.[3] In his junior year, he was named CIF Division IV co-most valuable player, and earned the Orange County Register and Garden Grove League most valuable player honors, when he recorded 13 wins and led the county with a 0.38 ERA (five earned runs in 90 2/3 innings) and strikeouts (168) while batting .373 with seven home runs and 31 RBI.[4] In his senior year, he earned All-CIF Division IV honors.


Kennedy went on to play college baseball for University of Southern California. In Kennedy's first year at USC, he went 7-2 in 16 games, with a 2.91 ERA and one save. He pitched 92⅔ innings, struck out 120, and walked 31. He also gave up 86 hits and allowed 34 runs, 30 of which were earned runs.

In his sophomore year, he went 12-3 in 18 games, with a 2.54 ERA and one complete game. He pitched 117 innings, struck out 158 (fourth-best in team history), and walked 38. He also gave up 171 hits, and had 33 earned runs out of 40 runs allowed.

As a junior at USC he pitched in 16 games, 15 of them starts. He went 5-7 with 102 strikeouts and posted a 3.90 ERA. He pitched 101⅔ innings, walked 38, and gave up 44 earned runs. Entering his senior year, Kennedy was 24-12 in 50 games, pitching 311⅓ innings. He had a strikeout total of 380, an ERA of 3.12, and had walked a total of 107 batters.

In 2005 Kennedy made the USC single-season strikeout list, striking out 158 batters, fourth on the list, behind Mark Prior, Seth Etherton, and Walt Peterson. Kennedy has a 12.15 strikeouts per nine innings ratio, which is fifth best in his school's history. He was also selected for the U.S. National Team twice. Kennedy was named a first-team All-American after both his freshman and sophomore years, and was also named to the Preseason All-American first team in 2006 and the USA's Junior National Team in 2002. In 2005, he became the eighth pitcher in USC history to be named the Pac-10 Conference "Pitcher of the Year."

Professional Career

Minor Leagues

Kennedy was drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round (21st overall) of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, earning a $2.25 million signing bonus.[5] "I would like to go out and play," he said, "start my professional career. The earlier the better. I imagine it's not going to be very long before I start. At least that's what I'm hoping. If it does take a while, I'm ready for that -- but I want to go out and play."[citation needed] He consistently throws his fastball around 91- 92 MPH, he is known for his pitching finesse to retire hitters.[6] He has also developed a unique curveball grip now known as the "Western grip."

Kennedy was previously drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 14th round (425th overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft, but he didn't sign with them. He joins Randy Johnson, Mark Prior, Tom Seaver, and Barry Zito on the list of pitchers drafted out of USC.[7]

Kennedy pitched 2.2 innings for the Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League, a short-season class A league, in 2006. In 2007, he began the season with the A Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League, posting a 6-1 record with a 1.29 ERA in 63.0 innings, while striking out 72 and only walking 22. He was promoted to the AA Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League, where he posted a 5-1 record with a 2.59 ERA in 48.2 innings, while striking out 57 and only walking 17.

On July 24, 2007, Kennedy was promoted to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees. He posted a 1-1 record there with a 2.08 ERA in six starts, striking out 34 and walking just 11 in 34.2 innings.

Major Leagues

New York Yankees

Ian Kennedy with NY YankeesKennedy made his major league debut with the New York Yankees on September 1, 2007 in place of Mike Mussina, to whom he is often compared.[8] He earned the win, allowing three runs (only one earned run) in seven innings, striking out six, walking two, and allowing five hits. Kennedy said before his first game:

"I didn’t want to be shellshocked. I wanted to act like I belong here. It’s a dream come true. You see the stadium on TV and you wish and hope you’ll be out there like those guys."[9]

On November 28, 2007 Kennedy was named the 26th best prospect by Minor League Baseball's official website.[10]

Despite having been replaced by Kennedy in the rotation in 2007, Mussina became a mentor for Kennedy and other young pitchers on the Yankee roster even requesting that Kennedy and Phil Hughes receive lockers next to his during 2008 spring training.[11]

On May 4, 2008 Kennedy was demoted to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a poor start to the 2008 season. Ian dominated in his first start back with AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre, tossing 7.1 innings of 1-hit ball while striking out eight.

On May 28, 2008, after enduring a strained right lat muscle, and being diagnosed with bursitis behind the scapular, Kennedy was placed on the DL, expected to miss at least 15 days. He returned to the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees, struggling in his first few starts before going on a three game tear. From July 19 to July 29, Kennedy pitched 20 innings, allowing 7 hits which yielded 3 runs, while collecting 14 Ks, and walking only 4. On July 24, Kennedy had another no-hitter broken up, after pitching a dominant 6 2/3 innings.

Kennedy made his return to the major leagues on August 8, starting in place of an injured Joba Chamberlain. After a poor outing against the Angels, in which he surrendered 5 runs in 2 innings, Kennedy was optioned in favour of Billy Traber on August 10.[12][13]

Kennedy was diagnosed with an aneurysm under his right armpit and underwent surgery May 12, 2009, at Roosevelt Hospital in New York under the care of Dr. George Todd, the same doctor who performed David Cone's procedure on an aneurysm in 1996.[14]

On September 19, Ian Kennedy was called up from the minors. On September 23, Kennedy made his first appearance against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He hit one batter and walked two others, but allowed no hits while pitching a scoreless 8th inning.[15]

Arizona Diamondbacks

Ian Kennedy with the Diamond Backs 2011In December 2009, Ian Kennedy went to the Diamondbacks in a three-way trade with the Detroit Tigers and the Yankees, in which Detroit received starting pitcher Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks and outfielder Austin Jackson from the Yankees and New York got center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers.[16]

In Kennedy's first appearance for Arizona, he pitched two scoreless innings in a rain-shortened game. He got his first win as a Diamondback on April 29, going 8 innings, while allowing 6 hits which led to 4 runs and striking out 6. On August 26, Kennedy struck out a career-high 12 batters, while allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks in 7 innings against the San Diego Padres.

Kennedy was named the Diamondbacks' 2011 Opening Day starting pitcher.[17]

Personal life

In October 2007, Kennedy married USC basketball player Allison Jaskowiak in a ceremony outside of St. Louis. None of his teammates on the Yankee playoff roster could attend the wedding as they were in the middle of the playoff series against the Cleveland Indians. Kennedy said of his wedding:

"I was thinking, what's more nerve-racking, pitching in the big leagues for the first time or getting married? It's a different emotion. I don't cry too much, but it was emotional."[18]

After the two were wed, the couple walked up the aisle to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".[18]

On April 24, 2011, Ian and Allison had their first child, Nora Rose. Ian was in New York with the team playing the Mets when he got the call to return home to Scottsdale, Arizona. He arrived in time to see Nora Rose born at 2:04 AM. The next evening he pitched his first major league complete game shut out, which took 2:04.

On April 25, 2011, Allison gave birth to their first child, a baby daughter named Nora Rose at 2:04 AM in New York.


   1. The Phil Hughes Weblog
   2. "Ian Kennedy pitches Yanks past Tampa". Daily News (New York). September 2, 2007.
   3. Kepner, Tyler (March 6, 2008). "Taking Control of His Future". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
   4. Player Bio: Ian Kennedy :: Baseball
   5. "Ian Kennedy's shaping up as Yanks' mini-Mike Mussina". Daily News (New York). August 30, 2007.
   6. "Vote for Ian Kennedy as potential heir to Greg Maddux's cerebral legacy". Daily News (New York). March 11, 2008.
   7. Baseball America - Southern California's Ian Kennedy
   8. Kepner, Tyler (August 30, 2007). "In Kennedy, Yankees See Familiar Approach". The New York Times.,%20Mike&pagewanted=all. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
   9. Battista, Judy (September 2, 2007). "Kennedy's Debut a Success for Yankees". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  10. "Minor League Baseball: News: Top Prospects". Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  12. Yanks option Kennedy, recall Traber | News
  13. Kennedy hit hard as Yankees fall | News
  18. a b "Yankees rookie pitcher Ian Kennedy marries USC basketball player". ESPN. 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2008-03-07.

External Links

- NY Yankees Press Release: "Yankees select right-handed pitcher Ian Kennedy in 1st round of 2006 First-Year Player Draft"
- news New York Yankees News "USC's Kennedy is Yankees' Top Pick"

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