So, we’re back again to check and see what kind of junk has built-up Under the Greydar. As sort of a prologue, coming back for another year at Razzball was a forgone conclusion. However, unlike other years, this time, Grey had a requirement of me– limit the number of Padres posts from 478,568.5 down to something more manageable and less-bias driven. Something like, what was the number he said? One? One. But, because I’m always on his good side, and I’m prettier than Sky, I was able to increase that number to five. Enough for a little breathing room. The thing Grey didn’t realize is, there’s a loop-hole. Joke’s on you my mustache’d friend! My strategy is to now to fit multiple Padres into one post… so I’ll be covering not one, but two Padres this time around… Can you taste what the Jay is cooking!? (Totally not sexual… maybe.) Before we get started, I should establish that I am not Hispanic, yet I always love dropping my Spanish language-bombs. Seeing as how I was the only kid to grow up in San Diego and not finish with at least a C+ in Spanish 101, well, that’s basically the long-story of– don’t ask me what I typed in Spanish. I have no idea. Put that in your Google translator and smoke it.
A Kennedy that’s alive and/or not in politics? What is this, dark wizardry? Regardless, I would love to end this post right now and just say “Ian Kennedy and Josh Johnson and Petco Park. THE END.” But I’m not sure I’ve ever written a 100-character anything, sans my name. But they always say, it’s about the journey, not the destination. Who exactly ‘they’ are… I think that was maybe someone from Star Trek: Voyager…? COMPLETE DIGRESSION ACHIEVED.
Look, we know the story of Ian Kennedy. He was ‘wow, that was awesome bro!’, in 2011. He was ‘meh, that’s okay, I guess…’ in 2010 and 2012. And finally he was ‘Ugh, nice dumpster fire bro’ in 2013. And it’s not to hard to find the determining factor of what caused these fluctuations of production. In 2013, and to a lesser degree in 2010 and 2012, the home run bug came out and bit him. Of course, it doesn’t help when the place you pitch in has a park factor of +112. For context, that’s 9th highest in the MLB. Specifically, for the long ball, Chase Field allows 112 home runs for every 100 produced in an average park. Petco has a park factor of -82. For every 100 home runs hit in an average park, only 78 are hit in the Gaslamp Quarter (even including the new dimensions).
Now, he’s actually logged some innings with the Padres, and suffice to say, those innings didn’t exactly provide the best data to help my cause here. Besides Kennedy’s HR/9 stirring up trouble, his BB% of 10.0 as a Padre and 9.2% for the year are worrisome. But I don’t think it’s disingenious to say that a full off-season to regroup, and an entire pre-season with a new staff can reinvigorate some sort of resurrection in this area. Remember, there are few things a pitcher has ownership over. This is one of them. And even if his control problems remain status quo, he certainly pitches in the right ballpark, and over a full-season sample, those home runs and walks will hurt him less and less. At the very least, he can be an attractive match-up option in all formats, but if there is some improvement, a domino effect could occur, and I don’t think a strong #3 pitcher is out of the question.
Johnson was recently covered in in Grey’s Top-60 Starters for 2014. Here’s what he had to say:
“Here’s what I said when he landed in San Diego, “What’s that sound I hear? Grey getting excited about Josh Johnson again? Or is it Grey using third person? Maybe both! Johnson wasn’t bad in Toronto. He was egregious! See what I did there? Actually, he was only bad when looking at ERA. For xFIP he was at 3.58 and a 9.18 K-rate. Both are solid numbers. Now Petco can take those pretty numbers out for a ride and remove all the belch like a gentle antacid.” And that’s me quoting me!”
And that’s me quoting Grey, who is also quoting Grey! I HAVE ALL THE QUOTATION MARKS. Granted, Josh Johnson isn’t really flying under the Greydar in this particular instance. But, I’d be remiss not to point out that there a few other things that really iron out Grey’s blurb. That’s what she said? Eh. While Johnson’s ERA of 6.20 and overwhelmingly mediocre FIP of 4.62 might show a pitcher that’s full of meh, the Batted Ball profile shows us something different. In fact, nearly every number (LD%, GB%, and FB%) are around career norms. Actually, the only number that is completely out-of-whack is his HR/FB, which sits at 18.5%. In 2012, it was 8.4%, and for his career, it’s sat at 8.2%. Seems like regression is a comin’, and pitching in Petco might just be the shot in arm this relationship needs.
Sure, there’s always health concerns. But every pitcher has health concerns. Drafting out of this tier, you don’t care about injuries anyways. You are looking for upside plays only, or, at least, you should be. Josh Johnson could do something special for your team. And if you miss out on Johnson, no worries. The very next tier, another Hodgepadre will pop out of his hole (I dunno, do they live in holes? Someone update the glossary!) in the form of Ian Kennedy. And he too, has the potential to impress based on price.
Yes, I’m a homer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m wrong. Except when I talk about Chase Headley. If that happens, run, run as far away as you can…