Joe Kelly - Today's Opposing Pitcher

Some info I could dig up on today's opposing pitcher, 24 year old righty, Joe Kelly.


Joe Kelly pitched at UC Riverside from 2007-2009. Kelly had great success his freshman year out of the bullpen with a 1.32 ERA in 27 innings. A shoulder injury before his sophomore year resulted in a late start to the season, and ended up pitching 17 innings out of the bullpen and struggled with a 9.35 ERA. His final year at UC Riverside was met with mixed results as his command was vastly improved from his first 2 years, but due to a high BABIP, had a disappointing 5.65 ERA in 29 innings out of the bullpen.

Joe Kelly was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2009 MLB draft, #98 overall. Joe Kelly started his career primarily out of the bullpen in short season A, but was moved to the rotation during his 2nd year in the minors in low A with moderate success. Kelly also appeared on Keith Law’s top 10 prospects for each organization, sneaking in at #10 for the Cardinals. His 3rd year (2011), was a turning point for him as he had a 2.60 ERA in High A over 11 starts and then was moved up to AA. His ERA was 5.01 in AA, but that was partly due to a high BABIP. He was able to sustain his walk and strike out rates with the jump to AA. 2012 saw Kelly start the season AAA, and though he had a low 2.86 ERA, his strike out rate dropped dramatically, but with a positive caveat of a big drop in walk rate. Joe Kelly finally got the call to the “Big Show” when Jaime Garcia was placed on the DL.

Interesting note: Joe Kelly was taken 3 spots after the Dbacks drafted Keon Broxton, who is currently repeating High A in Visalia. He was also drafted one round after the Dbacks drafted Eric Smith and Marc Krauss. Needless to say, so far it looks like Kelly would have been the MUCH better pick as Broxton has mostly struggled in his minor league career, Eric Smith looks like just another bullpen arm, and Marc Krauss looks like a bench bat that was recently traded to Houston.


According to Brooks Baseball, Joe Kelly is primarily a sinker ball pitcher (56%), while mixing in the fourseam fastball (17%) and curveball (19%), with the occasional changeup (9%). Kelly throws a hard sinker that averages over 94MPH with a 21inch drop, which induces a lot of ground balls (51.5%). He does not get a lot of strike outs (5.63 K/9) and does walk a lot of batters (3.03 K/9). Just looking at his numbers, Kelly reminds me of a poor man’s Trevor Cahill.


IMO, Joe Kelly is the type of pitcher that I would think the Dbacks hitters would be able to perform well against. The Dbacks have the 2nd highest walk rate amongst all NL teams, which could create problems for today’s opponent.

Considering the difference in opinion amongst Dbacks fans and Trevor Cahill, here's a poll I thought would be interesting...

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