Saturday, May 12, 2012

Regression unkind to Kyle Kendrick

Unlike the past few years, and especially with men on base, where Lady BABIP has been overly faithful to Kendrick, she's been a Jezebel this year. Making up for lost time, this may be the season where regression really kicks in for Kendrick. In just under 20 innings, his .394 BABIP is 17th highest in baseball(minimum 10 innings).
Typically when you hear a high BABIP cited, it often involves defending an otherwise good pitcher who is going through some bad luck. But the rub here is that even if you take away that high number, he's still been awful, just not 7.32 ERA type awful.
Adding to the many more balls landing for hits, his walk-rate is at a career high(9.3%) while his groundball-rate has plummeted to 35.6%(45.2% career). While he's actually been getting more swinging strikes, it hasn't been enough to offset those huge increases. Even that higher BABIP could be explained by a 26% line drive-rate than just pure luck.
With those increases, he's seen his defensive-independent pitching metrics all rise significantly higher en route to a -0.2 fWAR.
Not a good start to the first of a ridiculous two-year deal. Still, there's lot of Kendrick apologists out there. I don't know why really, but there are. It is not as if no other replacement-level player in baseball would sacrifice moving back and forth from the pen and in the rotation just for the opportunity to be in the show. Many would even do it at the minimum, rather than guaranteed millions a year.

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