By Bob Behre
Buddy Kennedy of Millville made the difficult choice in June to begin his professional baseball career straight out of high school instead of accepted a scholarship to North Carolina. That choice is beginning to bear fruit.
Kennedy was selected in the fifth round, 142nd overall, by the Arizona Diamondbacks and sent to the team’s rookie ball affiliate in the Arizona League. He’s played 38 games, 31 of them at third baseman and seven at DH, for the rookie Diamondbacks.
The 6-1, 190-pounder is batting .282 with 37 hits, including seven doubles and seven triples in 131 at bats. He’s scored 25 runs and driven home 15 runs. Kennedy has shown good senses on the basepaths, too, stealing five bases in six attempts.
HIs 15 walks have helped to bolster a .356 on-base percentage. A strong slugging percentage of .443 leaves him with an impressive .799 OPS.
Kennedy, the earliest New Jersey players selected in the 2017 MLB Draft, does not turn 19 until October 5, leaving him 1.7 years below the average age of players in the Arizona League.