Jared Kelley Makes Most Of Difficult Situation
With most of their minor league affiliates based in North Carolina, the White Sox had to scout out a local venue to use as a training facility this summer.
They settled on Schaumburg in Northwest suburban Chicago, the home of the independent Frontier League's Boomers franchise.
White Sox farm director Chris Getz said the camp's main goal is getting players ready to help the big league team this year, but there are some exceptions.
Jared Kelley is one of them.
Projected to go in the the first round of the June draft, the 18-year-old Texas righthander was still on the board when Chicago's No. 47 overall pick came up in the second round.
"We were kind of like, 'Man, what's going on?' " Kelley said.
Chicago was thrilled he was still available, and selected the Refugio (Texas) High standout and signed him for $3 million, almost double the $1.58 million slot value.
Kelley, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound righthander, struck out 34 of the 36 hitters he faced before his senior season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, he's making the best of a difficult situation after the White Sox summoned him to Schaumburg.
“He’s looked very good,” Getz said. “Jared’s work ethic has jumped out to everyone observing. His attention to detail and willingness to learn are other factors that have quickly shown, the attributes we had seen and heard about prior to selecting him.”
For as bright as Kelley's future is in Chicago, the White Sox are not even thinking about rushing him to the majors.
“He's presently throwing side sessions and will gradually face hitters and begin to build upon his workload,” Getz said. “We will be focusing on his four-seam fastball, breaking ball and changeup. All his pitches flash major league potential, so we’re aiming for consistency within his delivery and arm action to fully allow him to be efficient with all pitches.”
Getz has already seen how Kelley used his physical tools to his advantage.
“He is a strong, powerful kid who knows how to generate power,” Getz said. “He knows how to use his size and strength as a weapon.”
— Righthander Dane Dunning joined the White Sox from the alternate camp site and was impressive in his first major league start on Aug. 19. In his first outing since 2018 because of Tommy John surgery, Dunning had seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings against the Tigers.
— Third baseman Jake Burger, Chicago's first-round pick in 2017, is training at the team's alternate site. Burger missed the last two seasons with a ruptured Achilles tendon and bruised heel.