The Padres acquired Ian Kennedy at last year’s trade deadline in order to bolster their starting rotation, but Kennedy may provide help from beyond the mound. During Thursday night’s series opener, in the second inning, Kennedy hit his first home run not only of the year, but of his entire career. This makes him just the sixth pitcher in 2014 to hit a home run. Although he may not be anywhere close to the hitting ability of a position player, having a pitcher who isn’t an automatic out is a valuable asset.
It isn’t just this one home run that proves that Kennedy is an able hitter, there’s other stats to back it up as well. This year he’s batting .143/.143./.357 giving him the 27th highest batting average, 33rd highest OBP and the 9th highest slugging percentage among the 67 pitchers who have 10 or more plate appearances. Even sabermetrics can help support his case as a viable hitter. He’s one of just 18 pitchers who have a positive WAR. Even if it is just 0.1 it’s not far off from the top hitting pitchers, Adam Wainwright and Madison Bumgarner, who have WARs of 0.4.
They’re simple enough, too: Tally all the points at the end of the month – and “Ian put himself in a good spot,” Stults said, with a five-point homer – and the loser picks up the tab at a dinner among all the starting pitchers on a future road trip.”
(h/t Jeff Sanders, UT-San Diego)
As long he keeps hitting the way he does, he should be able to keep all of the $6.1 million he’s making this year, as well as getting some free dinners.