The next great from Millville, NJ? D-backs prospect has special relationship with Trout

Grandson of former Major Leaguer collects first hit in Arizona's rout

June 18th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Over the past three days, Buddy Kennedy has had a lot of things dumped on him.

There was the mustard, ketchup, water, beer, shaving cream and powder combination Wednesday. Then Friday night it was straight beer and mouthwash.

"Very interesting smell," Kennedy said. "Wouldn’t recommend it."

And yet, Kennedy, the D-backs' No. 21-ranked prospect, per MLB Pipeline, wouldn't trade either shower for the world because of what they signaled.

The first was from his teammates with Triple-A Reno after he got the news that he was headed to the big leagues for the first time. The second came after he collected his first Major League hit and walk while helping the D-backs to a 7-2 win over the Twins.

Kennedy's first at-bat came in the second inning. With his parents in town and his grandfather, former Brewers infielder Don Money, in attendance, Kennedy flew out to center.

"It was crazy," Kennedy said. "Once I was walking up to the plate and heard my name announced, it was just like a loss of words and I was like, 'All right, let's get through this one and it will be all right.' So I got through that one, got out and right after I sat back down on the bench I was like, 'This is baseball. It's good, it's all good.' And from there on out I had a solid mindset."

Kennedy then drew a walk in the fourth, and that's when his nerves really settled down.

"Once I looked up when I got on base and then it was like, 'OK this is fun. This is cool,'” Kennedy said.

Then in the fifth, with Money being interviewed on the team's telecast, Kennedy drove a single to right field.

Kennedy had yet to check his phone for text messages after seeing that he had screen after screen after screen of them earlier in the afternoon. One person who is likely to reach out is Angels star outfielder Mike Trout.

Trout and Kennedy are both from Millville, N.J., and became friends a number of years ago. During the offseason, the pair work out together and before taking the field for his Major League debut, Kennedy told a story from this winter that summed up their relationship.

It was a cold, snowy, gray day in New Jersey and when he woke up that morning, Kennedy did not feel like working out, so he let Trout know that he wouldn't be coming over to train.

"You want to make it to The Show?" Trout asked Kennedy. "You don't take days off."

Kennedy got right into his car and headed over to the workout.

When he got the news Wednesday that he was headed to the Majors, Kennedy called Trout right after calling his parents and Money. Trout brought up the day off that Kennedy almost took.

"I told you it would pay off," he said Trout told him. "You just got to trust me. I've done things. You know, you want to get there, you got to work."

Selected in the fifth round of the 2017 MLB Draft, Kennedy has put in his work in the Arizona system, touching every level at least once. Nothing was given to him. In fact, there was no guarantee when he reported to Spring Training that he would even be in the D-backs' organization when Opening Day rolled around.

That's because the D-backs didn't add him to the 40-man roster over the winter, which left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft, which had been postponed in December due to the lockout.

For a while, it looked like the Rule 5 Draft would take place after players reported to Spring Training, but in the end, it was canceled.

"When I wasn't put on the 40-man I was [like], 'OK, you got to work hard, you've got to be better,'" Kennedy said.

Kennedy did that, and it paid off for him Friday. He was looking forward to calling Trout after the game.

"He just knows what I'm capable of and knows I could definitely be here and help the team with whatever they need," Kennedy said. "And he just had that faith in me."