Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Casey Kelly pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Four years ago, the Red Sox made Kelly a first-round draft pick. He fancied himself a shortstop. After less than two seasons filled with poor hitting statistics, the Red Sox fancied Kelly a starting pitcher. He's not been brilliant in that role, but he's been good enough to advance through the minors quickly. After the 2010 season, Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo were the key ingredients in the package the Red Sox put together to acquire Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres (which is all we'll say about Gonzalez here, but we've said a lot more about him here).
Kelly's path to the majors took a detour this season, as he's spent most of the year on the Disabled List, limited to only eight professional starts. None of which, bizarrely enough, he's actually won. That's right: Casey Kelly will make his major-league début in late August, as a starting pitcher, despite having won exactly zero professional games all year.
Hey, this might work. In those eight starts spread around three levels, Kelly's struck out 39 minor leaguers and walked only three in 39⅔ innings. Last winter, John Sickels wrote, "Although a lot of scouts project him as a number two starter, I think he's more likely to be a number three ... a strike-throwing workhorse, rather than a star."
We'll know for sure tonight!*
* No, we won't.