The 2021 season saw the emergence of Ian Kennedy as the closer for the Texas Rangers. With a strong performance and 16 saves in 32 appearances, the question on everyone’s mind is whether Kennedy will continue in this role.
The Role of a Closer in Baseball
Reliable closers are crucial elements to a team’s success in baseball. In 2021, Ian Kennedy emerged as the Texas Rangers’ closer, where he was successful in saving 16 games in 32 appearances with a 2.51 ERA.
This essay will explore the role of a closer in baseball, the importance of a reliable closer, and the impact of a closer on a team’s success.
In baseball, a closer is a relief pitcher who is primarily utilized to protect a team’s lead in the ninth inning of a game. A closer is tasked with getting the final outs of a game and securing the victory for their team.
Typically, a closer possesses exceptional pitching abilities, particularly with their ability to throw a fastball. They are generally called upon when the game is on the line and must pitch under pressure.
Importance of a Reliable Closer
A reliable closer is essential because they provide a team with a sense of security. A team manager can have full confidence in their closer to finish the game and secure the win.
A dependable closer helps prevent late-game collapses, which can be detrimental to a team’s morale and overall success. A reliable closer can also give the starting pitcher peace of mind, knowing that they have a competent closer backing them up if necessary.
In addition, a reliable closer is an asset in post-season play, where one game can change the outcome of an entire series.
Impact on a Team’s Success
A closer’s impact on a team’s success can not be overstated. The ability to secure a win and prevent a loss is critical in a sport where winning a majority of games is necessary to make the playoffs.
Dependable closers can create a positive atmosphere in their clubhouse and instill confidence in their fellow teammates.
The impact of a successful closer can also translate into bigger attendance numbers and more revenue for the team.
The role of a closer in baseball is essential, as they are responsible for securing the win in late-game situations. The importance of a reliable closer can not be overstated, as they can help prevent late-game collapses and provide a sense of security.
The impact of a reliable closer on a team’s success can be significant, creating a positive atmosphere in the clubhouse and translating into more revenue for the team.
Ian Kennedy’s emergence as the Rangers’ closer in 2021 illustrates the importance of this role and the impact that a successful closer can have on the team’s success.
Ian Kennedy’s 2021 Performance
Ian Kennedy, the veteran relief pitcher who has pitched for a number of MLB teams over his career, put together an impressive season as the closer for the Texas Rangers in 2021.
While the team’s overall performance was lackluster, Kennedy’s shutdown performances often left fans leaving the ballpark satisfied.
Kennedy’s Statistics as a Closer in 2021
In 32 appearances as the Rangers’ closer, Kennedy saved 16 games while posting a 2.51 ERA. Furthermore, Kennedy struck out 33 batters while walking only nine across 32.1 innings pitched.
These in impressive numbers in a position that is often as nerve-wracking as it is relied upon and lauded.
Comparison to Other Closers in the League
When compared to other closers in the league, Kennedy’s save percentage was 80%, which is right in line with the league average for closers. However, it’s worth noting that Kennedy’s ERA was lower than the league average for closers, indicating his consistent, high-quality pitching.
Just a few of the other closers who had a similarly successful season include Craig Kimbrel of the Chicago Cubs, Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Liam Hendriks of the Chicago White Sox.
Impact on the Rangers’ Season
While the Texas Rangers had a disappointing season overall, Kennedy’s performance was one of the rare bright spots. In many games, his dominant performances shut down opposing teams and helped his team to victory.
In fact, Kennedy was so impressive as a closer that at the trade deadline, he was picked up by the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies, where he continued his successful pitching run to help his new team clinch the National League East in September.
In short, Kennedy’s strong performances not only impacted the Rangers’ season, but also put him on the radar of other MLB teams as a valuable trade candidate.
In summary, Ian Kennedy put together an impressive season as the Texas Rangers’ closer in 2021, with great statistics that are on par with and in some cases better than other closers around the league.
Kennedy’s impactful performances helped him get traded to a contender while also shining a spotlight on the role of closers on MLB teams, reminding us just how important they are when competing for a championship-caliber team.
Kennedy’s Previous Experience as a Pitcher
In 2021, Ian Kennedy emerged as the Texas Rangers’ closer, racking up 16 saves in 32 appearances while maintaining a stellar 2.51 ERA.
While Kennedy has been a stalwart of the major leagues for more than a decade, this year marked a departure from his previous roles as a starting pitcher and reliever.
In this essay, I will provide an overview of Kennedy’s career, compare his performance as closer to his previous roles, and explore potential reasons for his success in the closer role.
Kennedy’s Career as a Starting Pitcher and Reliever
Ian Kennedy’s career has been characterized by versatility. He has pitched in a variety of roles, ranging from long relief to starting pitcher to closer.
Kennedy made his major league debut with the New York Yankees in 2007 as a starting pitcher, and his strong performance over the next few seasons earned him a reputation as a reliable arm.
In 2012, Kennedy was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he split time between starting and relieving roles.
He continued this trend in subsequent seasons with the San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Comparison of Kennedy’s Performance as Closer Vs. His Previous Roles
Despite his success as both a starter and reliever, Ian Kennedy has thrived in the closer role he took on in 2021. Kennedy’s ERA this season was the lowest it has been since 2011, and his WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) was also remarkably low.
He appeared to be more efficient and in control in the closer role, striking out a career-high number of batters per nine innings.
Comparatively, Kennedy’s ERA was much higher in his previous two seasons as a reliever, and his performance as a starter lacked the consistency he has shown as a closer.
Potential Reasons for Success in the Closer Role
There are several potential reasons why Ian Kennedy has excelled as a closer in 2021. Perhaps most significantly, he has been given the opportunity to focus on one specific role and prepare accordingly.
In contrast, when pitching in a variety of roles, it can be difficult for pitchers to maintain the level of consistency necessary to excel. Additionally, Kennedy seems to have embraced his role as a closer, according to comments he has made in media interviews.
He has talked about enjoying the pressure and adrenaline that come with pitching in high-leverage situations.
Lastly, Kennedy has developed a new pitch, a slider, which has given him another weapon in his arsenal and increased his effectiveness on the mound.
Ian Kennedy’s emergence as a top closer for the Texas Rangers in 2021 is a testament to his versatility as a pitcher, his willingness to adapt to new roles, and his natural ability to perform under pressure.
Kennedy’s success this season as a closer is particularly notable given his previous experience as a starter and reliever.
Whether he continues in this role in the future remains to be seen, but his success in 2021 shows that he is more than capable of excelling in whatever role he is given.
Future of the Closer Role for the Texas Rangers
The Rangers’ Plans for Kennedy and the Closer Role
With Ian Kennedy’s success as the Rangers closer in 2021, it is likely that he will continue in that role for the team in the near future.
Kennedy, who signed a two-year deal with the Rangers in February 2021, has expressed his desire to stay with the team and continue in the closer role.
Manager Chris Woodward has also praised Kennedy’s performance and leadership, and there have not been any indications that the Rangers are actively looking for a new closer.
Possible Alternatives to Kennedy as Closer
If the Rangers were to consider alternatives to Kennedy as closer, they could look to some of the younger arms on their roster. Josh Sborz, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Corey Knebel trade, has shown potential as a high-leverage reliever.
Brett Martin, who has primarily been used in a setup role, also has the stuff to be a successful closer. Additionally, the Rangers could look to free agency or trades to acquire a proven closer.
Potential Impact on the Team’s Success in Future Seasons
The success of the closer role is crucial to a team’s success, and the Rangers will need continued success in the ninth inning if they hope to compete in future seasons. Kennedy’s potential departure could create some uncertainty, but the Rangers have a number of talented arms in their bullpen.
If someone like Sborz or Martin were to step up and excel in the closer role, it could have a positive impact on the team’s success.
On the other hand, if the team struggles to find a consistent closer, it could lead to a number of frustrating losses and negatively impact their success in future seasons. Overall, finding a dependable closer will be a key component of the Rangers’ rebuilding process.
How Many Kids Does Ian Kennedy Have?
Ian Kennedy, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, has a total of five children. His oldest child is Nora, who is currently eight years old. Kennedy’s second oldest child is Renee, who is six years old.
His third child, Lydia, is five years old. Evelyn, his fourth child, is three years old. Kennedy’s youngest child is Isaac, who is currently eighteen months old. All five of Kennedy’s children are products of his marriage to his wife, Allison.
Kennedy and Allison met while both attending the University of Southern California. The couple’s children have shown athletic promise, likely inheriting some of their parents’ natural talent.
Kennedy’s dedication to his family and his athletic career has been well-documented throughout his time in the MLB.
What is Ian Kennedy Salary?
Ian Kennedy is a professional baseball player who currently plays for the Texas Rangers. He is a right-handed pitcher and has played in the major leagues since 2007. Kennedy’s current salary as of the 2021 season is $2.15 million.
He previously played for the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Kansas City Royals. Kennedy was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and made his MLB debut the following year.
He is known for being a reliable starting pitcher and has recorded over 1,500 strikeouts in his career. Kennedy has a career ERA of 4.20 and has won over 100 games in his career. In 2011, Kennedy was an All-Star and finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.
He has also been involved in various philanthropic efforts and was named the Royals’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2019.
Despite being in the latter stages of his career, Kennedy continues to be a valuable player for the Rangers and strives to help the team win games.
Ian Kennedy has proven himself as a reliable closer for the Texas Rangers with his strong performance in the 2021 season.
It remains to be seen if he will continue in this role but with his consistency and effectiveness, it seems likely that he will remain an important part of the Rangers bullpen.
Fans can look forward to seeing Kennedy’s continued contributions to the team in the upcoming season.