Saturday, May 18, 2024

Joe Kelly Has Quietly Been Elite This Year

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Most MLB fans are familiar with Joe Kelly because of his theatrics on the mound in previous seasons. When he came to the White Sox, most thought he would be an excellent addition to the bullpen, as he was coming off a season where he had a 2.86 ERA in 48 games with the Dodgers.

But, last year was a lost year for him, as he seemed to lose his control. This year seems to be different, as he has looked and been significantly better coming out of the White Sox bullpen, especially after returning from the injured list.

Kelly Has Looked Like His Old Self

After last year, many thought that Kelly was washed and would no longer provide any value to the team. That does not seem to be the case. He has been fantastic out of the pen and arguably one of our most valuable relievers.

To this date, he has 16 strikeouts in just 11 innings, which is extremely good. He only has a .7 WHIP and he has cut the walk rates down significantly. To put it in comparison, his walks per nine innings this year is .8 while last year it was 5.6. To walk almost five fewer batters per nine innings is an insane turnaround.

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This season’s Kelly is the one that everyone was expecting to see last year, and it feels like it is being wasted as the Sox are essentially out of contention. If he continues to play well and the Sox somehow turn it around then he will be an extremely valuable asset.

Moving Forward

Considering Kelly’s age and the status of the team, it is likely that he is moved around the trade deadline. It would be nice to see him be competitive with the Sox, as he has a plethora of playoff experience, but there does not seem to be any prospect of playoffs for the White Sox this season.

Fortunately for the White Sox, bullpen arms are in high demand at the deadline and could convince a team to give up a solid prospect for Kelly, especially if he keeps up how he is pitching. I can see a team like the Orioles, Brewers, Rangers, Braves, or even the Dodgers taking a look at him.

Basically, any team that has any sort of chance of making it to the playoffs would love to have him, as the aforementioned playoff experience could be good on the mound and in the clubhouse for whatever team acquires him.

He does have a club option for next year, so any team that trades for him can have the option of keeping him around for next year, which would sweeten the deal for the Sox, as he would be more than just a rental. But, knowing the Sox, they will use that option to keep him on the team and not make the playoffs and miss an opportunity to strengthen the farm system.

Regardless, it is nice to see Kelly pitch well as he is a great competitor on the mound. I would love to see him finish his career with the White Sox, but it is in the best interest of the team to trade him along with many others and try again.

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Françoise Jordyn
May 18, 2023 6:18 pm

rade him along with many others and try again.

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