How Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round (#30 overall) in the 2008 Amateur Draft by the Red Sox
2009 – Greenville (Sally League – Red Sox A) – 9 starts
- 6-1, 1.12 ERA, 48 1/3 IP
- 39 strikeouts, 9 walks
- .247 BABIP, 2.14 FIP
2009 – Salem (Carolina League – Red Sox High-A) – 8 starts
- 1-4, 3.09 ERA, 46 2/3 IP
- 35 strikeouts, 7 walks
- .231 BABIP, 3.33 FIP
Baseball America – #2 (BOS – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #2 (BOS – 2010) – 5 star
John Sickels – #2 (BOS – 2010) – B+
Kelly was drafted during the 2008 amateur draft as a two-way player, a shortstop and a pitcher. He started out with the Red Sox as a shortstop, but didn’t really see a lot of success. Early on into the 2009 season, the Red Sox officially converted him to a pitcher full time, and he saw some great success (1.12 ERA, 39 strikeouts, 9 walks in 48 1/3 IP), and was promoted to High-A Salem as well. His control numbers remained strong, walking only 7 in 46 2/3 IP.
Kelly is really a bit of an enigma as a prospect. He really wanted to try and make it as a shortstop, but his hitting skills really didn’t seem to point towards a Major League career for him. The Red Sox even humored him, and sent him to the Arizona Fall League as a shortstop. As a pitcher, he excelled considering his age at those levels, and really looks like an elite prospect.
In December 2009, Kelly made the decision to continue his career on the mound. Kelly’s pitching skills are quite advanced for his age, mixing in three plus pitches: a low 90s fastball, a hard 12-6 curveball, and a nice change. He throws all of his pitches with outstanding command and control. Sound, smooth mechanics. Fastball has excellent downward movement, and generally sits between 89 and 92 mph, getting up to 93-94 mph on occasion. Many scouts project that he’ll sit in the 92-94 mph range after he fills out. Curveball has the potential to become a plus-plus wipeout pitch. It sits around 76-78 mph, but he tends to show it a little too much at times. Kelly’s changeup sits around 84 mph with a lot of sink.
The fact that Kelly has made the decision to continue as a pitcher only should really help to speed up his development and his timetable to the Major Leagues. Kelly will most likely start the season back at High-A, but should he show early success will see a call up to AA. The Red Sox definitely can give him the time he needs to develop, as they have quite a bit of pitching at the Major League level that should be there for a while. I think Kelly has the potential to be a special pitcher, and his floor as a prospect still looks very high to me.
Prediction for 2010
10-7, 3.20 ERA, 135 IP, 115 strikeouts, 25 walks
Midseason 2012, unless they really don’t need him at the Major League level, at which point he could stay down until 2013 possibly.
Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review: 1B Yonder Alonso of the Cincinnati Reds