Well, the score wasn’t what I expected it to be, but the team I expected won. The commercials were the best part, but I digress. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Bad enough I have to listen to my son-in-law about it ad nausem,
Back to Joe Kelly. Who really is Joe Kelly? Is he an evil villan who broke Hanley Ramirez’ hand and cost the Dodgers a shot at a Championship? The cover photo was one Hanley Ramirez with a choke hold on Kelly, saying “I finally got him back.” Joe and Hanley were friends on the Red Sox, so I think Hanley doesn’t feel that way.
I have been called the Great Optimist for many reasons, but recently because I have called Joe Kelly a great upgrade. In the Skeptic’s House, they wonder which Joe will show, and when….. That’s a fair question because Joe Kelly has certainly had an up and down career which includes the latest chapter where he was light’s out in the 2018 World Series.
Andrew Friedman wasted little time in signing him to a nice (for him) three-year contract. He has shuffled between the bullpen and starting from 2012 up until 2017. During that time, he started 79 games. Since them, he has been used exclusively in relief. Interestingly, he has not been a strikeout pitcher most of his career even his fastball averages 98.98 MPH (just call it 99), though he has shown more of a proclivity at the strikeout lately.
Yes, you’re reading that right–Kelly’s fastball averaged 98.9 mph. It has touched as high as 102 mph in 2017, a career-high. It didn’t just have velocity though, it also has excellent armside moveement and is death on hitters, generating plenty of whiffs and giving up just a .179 average.
Joe Kelly made a major change in the way he pitches, starting in the offseason of 2016, where he put up a 5.18 ERA and he was also a spot starter. In 2017 his ERA was 2.79. Early last season, he was also lights’ out and really had only 4 rough outings that raised his ERA. Of course, the Dodgers saw up close and personal what he can do in the World Series.
I guess you could say that Joe Kelly is evolving and evolution can happen quickly or over a number of years. Frankly, Joe Kelly is still learning to pitch and the Dodgers think he can harness his control even more by smoothing out and repeating his mechanics. I will warn you that he could look bad in the Spring as they start on this.
I think Martin and Barnes will help in his evolution, and while I hate to say it, he really could be what Brandon Morrow was, or he could be a LH Andrew Miller. Most likely, he’s that “bridge” to Kenley who is also re-energized and re-focused. There will be no World Series Hangover this year. These boys are hungry and the team is loaded. You are in for another fun ride.
By the way, Hanley is still available…