SoxProspects News

April 19, 2010 at 7:54 AM

The Book: Casey Kelly


New to the SoxProspects lineup in 2010, The Book will review selected, single-game prospect performances from a first-hand perspective. The box score can only tell so much of the story – one batter’s 0 for 4 may have included two balls lined right at fielders and a poor strikeout call by the umpire, while another’s 2 for 3 may result from a bloop hit, a poor infield play not ruled an error, and a walk by an erratic pitcher. Here, we will go beyond the box score, giving a scout’s eye view of one game in the season of a prospect.

RHP Casey Kelly
Date: April 18, 2010
Team: Portland Sea Dogs

Outing: 3 innings, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts, 0 walks; 39 pitches

Fastball: Kelly mainly relied on his fastball in the outing, firing twenty-five heaters and pumping twenty of them for strikes. The offering sat 89-91 MPH, topping out at 92 MPH four times. Kelly exhibited excellent overall command of his fastball and was able to spot it on both sides of the plate effectively, picking up both of his strikeouts by painting the pitch at 91 MPH on the corners. Showing excellent late finish, batters had a tough time making solid contact on Kelly’s fastball when he had it running down in the zone. When the pitch was elevated more, batters were able to get the bat on the ball, but didn’t produce much solid contact against it. Kelly had high strike totals with his fastball on the day, but twelve of the strikes were the result of contact, either foul or in play. The pitch is much more effective slicing the corners down in the zone and does not show high swing-and-miss capability right now.

Curveball/Changeup: Kelly mixed in his secondary offerings, throwing five curveballs and nine changeups. He had better feel for his change, but both pitches show plus potential. Kelly’s curveball is a classic 12-to-6, hard-breaking offering that came in between 79 and 82 MPH. One curve was especially effective, dropping into the strike zone with the hitter frozen on the break. Kelly was burying the offering a bit too much into the dirt, and batters were able to lay off due to it starting lower in the zone. He was able to finish his changeup much better, and has an advanced feel for the pitch, which sat 83-84 MPH. Kelly has excellent arm action with the offering, and produces hard drop late in the ball’s approach to home plate. Hitters were off-balance against it and produced only weak contact, including a chopper to third base and a fly out to centerfield. He did leave the pitch up once that resulted in it being elevated, but the batter was out in front enough that it was off the end of the bat.

Take: At 20 years of age, Kelly has an advanced feel for pitching and an arsenal that has the potential to have three plus pitches. His main strengths are his above-average overall command of his repertoire and the confidence in all of his pitches to throw them at any point in the count. Kelly’s fastball has the type of late finish and life that makes it difficult for batters to consistently produce hard contact against when he is on top of the pitch. Right now, however, he doesn’t have the velocity to get away with missing in the middle of the plate or up in the zone. His secondary offerings are advanced for his age, and with continued progression they should evolve into excellent pitches to compliment his fastball. As he continues to build arm strength this season, he will need to lean on these pitches more to get outs so batters don’t sit on his fastball too much, especially on days he is not quite as sharp with his heater. Kelly will be challenged more when the organization allows him to go deeper into games and through a lineup a couple of turns, but right now he looks to be building the foundation towards being a future major league starting pitcher.

 
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