From BR Bullpen
Kenneth Joe Kinnard
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Claremore High School
Ken Kinnard peaked at AAA. He once stole 70 bases in a season.
Kinnard was the 28th pick of the 1980 amateur draft, taken between Jay Tibbs and Brian Fisher with the second pick of the second round. He was Toronto's second selection, following Garry Harris - none of the 1980 Jays draftees would wind up in the majors despite a Hall of Fame GM in Pat Gillick.
Debuting with the 1980 Medicine Hat Blue Jays, the Oklahoma native hit only .184/.243/.274 with 93 whiffs in 223 at-bats. He led the Pioneer League in strikeouts in his rough debut. In 1981, Kinnard played for the GCL Blue Jays (.275/.355/.356, 38 SB, 9 CS, 55 R in 63 G) and Florence Blue Jays (14 for 78, 3B, 2 HR, 4 BB, SB, 33 K). He was second in the Gulf Coast League in stolen bases, trailing Alex Marte. During 1982, he put up a .263/.365/.359 line for Florence, swiping 70 bases while being caught 11 times. He still struck out 124 times but also drew 87 walks and scored 101 runs. He was third in the South Atlantic League in steals, behind Bernie Tatis and Lenny Dykstra. He also tied for the lead with 8 triples, even with Kenny Clark and Richard Plautz. Kinnard was a distant second in runs, 19 behind leader Mark Carreon.
In 1983, Ken hit .242/.347/.291 with 50 steals (in 66 tries) and 67 walks for the Kinston Blue Jays; he fanned in 153 of 426 AB. He led the Carolina League in Ks, 7 more than Dave Cochrane and Jim Olander. He was third in steals, but with fewer than half of Dykstra's 105. Kinnard batted .244/.325/.320 for the '84 Knoxville Blue Jays and was down to 18 steals in 26 tries. He struck out 130 times. He was third in the Southern League in strikeouts, behind Dan Pasqua and Van Snider.
Kinnard opened 1985 back with Knoxville, going 3 for 13 with a double and four walks in a backup role and 0 for 1 with the Syracuse Chiefs. In early April, he was sent along with Jose Escobar and Dave Shipanoff to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Len Matuszek. He hit .184/.231/.289 in 79 games for the Reading Phillies following the exchange, with just 9 swipes in 15 attempts. Back in the Toronto system for 1986, he hit .322/.400/.492 in 34 games for the Ventura County Gulls (back in A ball after two years at AA and AAA) and .352/.394/.543 in 63 for Knoxville. He stole 25 bases in 33 tries and legged out 10 triples for the season, looking resurgent. Had he qualified, he would have led the SL in average.
In 1987, Kinnard played for Knoxville and the Greenville Braves, hitting a composite .271/.313/.391 with 107 strikeouts in 325 at-bats. He had hit .252/.328/.351 with 230 steals in the US and Canadian minors, with 864 K in 2,870 at-bats. He resurfaced briefly in 1990 with the Mexican League's San Luis Potosi Tuneros, going 11 for 42 with a double, homer, 3 walks and four steals.