After shining bright in the Arizona Fall League last fall, Buddy Kennedy's status as a rising third base/second base prospect in the burgeoning Arizona Diamondbacks have become bigger and bigger. Now, he might be on the cusp of reaching a childhood dream, playing in the MLB. Coming from Millville High School where Mike Trout went, Kennedy was drafted by the Dbacks in 2017 in the 5th round. It's been said that he and Trout have since become friends which is impressive.
The 23-year-old 6'1 infielder has great raw power with a solid hitting ability. His arm is good enough to stick anywhere on the diamond. His defense was suspect to start his MiLB career but has been getting better of late, enough to where he can reasonably stay at third base for his career.
Kennedy has a tremendously quick swing that allows him to make line-drive contact and drive the ball all over the field. Last year, he adapted to the trend of hitting more balls in the air but stuck with his line-drive approach. This allowed him to launch 22 HRs, 11 doubles, and 2 triples with 60 RBI and 16 SBs in only 96 games across High-A+ and Double-AA. He hit .290/.384/.523/.907. Buddy knows the strike zone and has a patient approach to the plate, something the Diamondbacks love.
Last year he walked 50 times compared to only 98 Ks. This year? He's walked 30 times while striking out a mere 41 times in 229 plate appearances. That's stellar and has enabled him to hit 8 doubles, 4 HRs, 24 RBI, 3 Triples, and steal 8 bags with a terrific line of .296/.384/.429/.813. That's good for a 109 wRC+ (100 is league average).
Buddy is best suited for 3rd base but is able to play 2nd and has the potential to be a 20 HR/10SB caliber player with a solid average and OBP in the MLB. MLB Pipeline has ranked him as the 21st best prospect in the Dbacks vaunted system while I have ranked him as the 17th best prospect in my own rankings.
it's expected that the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to call up Buddy Kennedy from the Reno Aces to make his MLB Debut against the Minnesota Twins!
Now, why are we calling up a 2nd or 3rd baseman? There are multiple pathways for Buddy to get consistent playing time and/or get a chance to play in the MLB with the Diamondbacks.
As I reported yesterday, Ketel Marte left Wednesday's win against the Reds in the 9th inning due to hamstring tightness. This could mean he strained it in which case he will miss at least a couple of games. Perhaps the Diamondbacks are wanting to get Buddy a cup of coffee in the MLB at 2nd instead of playing Jake Hager. Another worst scenario is that Marte has to go on the IL in which case a regular spot at 2nd opens up for Kennedy to play.
Another scenario is that the team is going to send down Pavin Smith, the team's DH/RF/backup 1st baseman due to his prolonged slump this year. He's hitting .154/.227/.324/.550 since May 1st with 7 HR and 20 RBI while striking out 47 times to only 13 walks. The team may want him to go to Reno to reset himself and will use Kennedy in a rotation at 3rd/2nd/DH with Ketel Marte and Josh Rojas. This would also allow Daulton Varsho to have RF full-time to himself with Carson Kelly back at catcher. Kennedy is able to play 1st as well which would allow him to spell Christian Walker.
Since May 14th, over a span of 26 games, Kennedy has hit a HR, 11 RBI, 4 doubles, 2 triples, walked 17 times while striking out 21 times, and has a batting line of .343/.432/.455/.887. Those are impressive numbers, even in a hitter haven that is the Pacific Coast League.
Regardless of why he is coming up to the MLB, it seems like his time is fast approaching and we should see him within a month or so, if not tomorrow!
Welcome to the big leagues' Buddy!