In no way has Kyle Kendrick been an instant phenom. Instead, he started slowly and then took a step back, only to come back with a vengeance and put it all together last season at both Lakewood and Clearwater. It appears that the young right-hander is showing the potential that the Phillies waited patiently to see and odds are that they'll be paid well for their patience. One scout thought that Kendrick may well have made the biggest jump in confidence and poise of any Phillies' minor leaguer during the 2006 season.
Coming into the 2006 season, Kendrick had posted a career minor league ERA of 5.27 since being drafted in the 7th round of the 2003 Draft. The only real success that he had shown was in 2005 when he was sent back to Batavia after spending a chunk of the previous season at Lakewood. This past summer, Kendrick changed all of that and had the best season of his young career.
Kyle Kendrick's career stats
|'03 Gulf Coast||0||4||5.46||0||9||5||31.1||40||24||19||3||12||26|
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies out of Mount Vernon High School in the 7th round of the 2003 Draft.
Repertoire: As with many young pitchers, Kendrick developed his fastball much before his secondary pitches. Today, he has a good fastball that he can move in and out of the strike zone very well. His secondary pitches have come along well, but aren't anything that are going to be good enough to get him to the majors at this point. Keep in mind that Kendrick is still young (he turned 22 last August) and he is still working on his pitches. Most scouts believe he'll continue to develop and will be able to maintain his control and velocity and will have a curve and change-up to compliment his fastball well.
Pitching: While Kendrick may have developed slower than most expected, he showed in 2006 that he has the ability to be a solid pitcher. He's got a strong and durable arm and threw a career-high 176 innings between Lakewood and Clearwater last season. He's put it all together and while he has a losing record and high ERA through his first 44 minor league games, his last 41 starts have been much better and he's posted a 3.40 ERA in those starts.
Projection: As he's coming along now, Kendrick figures to be able to hold down a middle spot in a major league rotation at some point in the not-too-distant future. His ability to pitch deep into games and the fact that his secondary pitches are coming along very well bode well for his future. He's likely going to start the 2007 season at Double-A Reading, which is always a big jump for players to make. Kendrick showed much more confidence last season and many scouts thought that was a key part of his game that was lacking prior to 2006.
ETA: It figures that Kendrick will likely need more than just a season each at Double-A and Triple-A, but if he makes the kind of advances this season that he did last season, he could do just that. It's likely that he will get at least a decent look in spring training of 2009, but likely will need a little more work at Triple-A before he would be ready to step into the rotation.
Comparison: While he doesn't display the raw talent that Scott Mathieson has shown, Kendrick could become the same sort of pitcher as Mathieson if all goes well. Neither has a blazing fastball or other great pitches, but both know how to mix their pitches and throw them for strikes. Kendrick is going to have to work harder than Mathieson has to get where he needs to be, but there is no reason to think that he can't compare favorably when all is said and done.