Padres Minors: Minor League Pitcher Michael Kelly Emerging at the Right Time

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The San Diego Padres need starting pitchers in the upper minor league levels in the worse way. The trades of Matt Wisler, Joe Ross, Zach Eflin, Matt Andriese and Jesse Hahn in the last year and a half have created a lack of talent in the Double-A and Triple-A level as far as starting pitchers go. The Padres really need help in that area.

Michael Kelly was recently promoted from Lake Elsinore to the Double-A level. He has repeated A-ball several times and until recently hadn’t shown much progression. Sometimes it takes a player a little while to figure it out. It appears Kelly has done that and a major league call up could be in his future eventually.

The San Diego Padres are ecstatic with the development of this right handed pitcher in recent weeks. He has a 1.54 ERA since being promoted to San Antonio in the beginning of May. In five starts in the Texas League he is 2-1 in 23.1 innings with 24 strikeouts and only seven walks. Kelly has had control issues so far as a professional player, so this progression in attacking the hitters and throwing strikes is very pleasant to see.

Kelly was the 48th pick in the 2011 draft out of West Boca Raton Community High School. He finished his first pro year in 2012 with a 7.21 ERA in 58 innings. He was 19 and not pitching to his ability. The Padres had a project on their hands. They simply expected more.

If you look at almost every year of Kelly’s professional seasons you will see progression. He had a 7.21 ERA in his first season as a pro and followed that with a 5.75 ERA in 2013. The next season in Low A-Ball he maintained a 4.07 ERA in 73 innings. The 2015 season was a bad one for Kelly and he regressed a bit. He started out in Fort Wayne going 5-3 with a 4.46 ERA. He was promoted to Lake Elsinore late in the year and he was shelled there. In 30 innings and five starts, Kelly gave up 45 hits and 33 runs (28 earned). He finished the 2015 season with a 5.68 ERA.

This season he started the year in Lake Elsinore, and once again pitching in the California League was not kind to him. Kelly starting out the 2016 season going 1-3 with a 5.83 ERA in six starts. In early May he was promoted to San Antonio and has absolutely gone off. Hopefully he has turned the corner because like I mentioned, upper minor league starting pitchers is exactly what the Padres need right now. Take a look at this video of Kelly and you will see that the young right handed pitcher has developed. He is seen here finishing off seven shut-out innings.

The timing of his rise through the minor leagues could not be better for the Padres. The team is about to lose Andrew Cashner and possibly James Shields and Tyson Ross. They will need starting pitchers in the next season or two. Not to say Kelly is a guarantee to be one of those pitchers, but if you fill your farm system with players that have talent and are progressing, you have a shot to find a few diamonds in the rough.

Michael Kelly helps make up the loss of recent talented pitchers. With the draft coming next week, some expect the Padres to draft collegiate pitchers with their top selections. That makes sense as the team is loaded at the A-Ball level with pitchers like Austin Smith, Jacob Nix, Logan Allen, Jean Cosme, Dinelson Lamet and Enyel De Los Santos. The next few months of the season will be very important to the development of the Padres future. Stay tuned. Preller needs to be nearly flawless in order to change the winning culture of this franchise.

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