In some scouting circles, Casey Kelly has been a divisive prospect.
He's not a huge velocity guy, but Kelly's stuff generally gets good reviews from scouts, as does his smooth, efficient delivery. Yet he hasn't dominated hitters like you would expect someone who's supposed to be a premium prospect would, with a 5.31 ERA in 95 innings in Double-A in 2010 with the Red Sox, then a 3.98 ERA last year in Double-A for the Padres.
Early this year, both the scouting reports and the results are starting to converge for the 22-year-old righthander. After a solid debut, Kelly was brilliant tonight in his second start for Triple-A Tucson, holding Sacramento (Athletics) scoreless over six innings with nine strikeouts, no walks and five hits allowed. Kelly finished all nine of his strikeouts with a swing and a miss. He did it all with a 19 mph wind blowing out to right field and against a lineup of good Triple-A hitters, including Chris Carter, Michael Taylor, Derek Norris, Jermaine Mitchell, Grant Green and Brandon Moss.
Scouts who have seen Kelly this year have come away impressed, noting that he's throwing a 90-95 mph fastball with hard sink, locating it to both sides of the plate and complementing it with above-average pitches in his breaking stuff and his changeup. If the fastball command and the consistency of the secondary pitches hold, Kelly has the potential to be at least a mid-rotation starter, perhaps more, and could make his big league debut at some point this year.
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