Thursday, December 13, 2018

Welcome to the Blue, Joe Kelly!

If you can't beat him... sign him!

As you all surely know by now, the Dodgers made their first real free agent signing of the winter, and it's a person we all know (and probably hate). After all, no pitcher did more to deflate Dodger bats during the World Series than this guy. Reliever Joe Kelly, the man responsible for throwing six scoreless innings when it counted, is now a Dodger.
Per Ken Rosenthal on twitter:
This guy was unhittable in October. During those six scoreless World Series innings he recorded ten strikeouts, allowed just four hits and walked none. Overall, he pitched 11.1 innings and allowed just one earned run. In other words, this might just be the perfect setup guy for us. BTW, Joe Morosi is reporting that it's a three-year deal for $25 million:
It should also be noted that Joe Kelly was the pitcher who threw an inside fastball to Hanley Ramirez during the 2013 NLCS that broke his rib. So, Kelly has been beating the Dodger in more ways than one for quite some time. You can relive that terrible memory here. He was also the guy who participated in a strange standoff prior to the first pitch of Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS against Dodger outfielder Scott Van Slyke. You can watch a highlight of that here. Below is a little bit of background about what he brings to the mound, as found on wikipedia:
Kelly throws a fastball that can reach up to 102.2 miles per hour (164.5 km/h) and complements it with a sinking fastball and slider. His sinker shows dramatic horizontal movement, while paradoxically, not showing the kind of vertical movement (sink or drop) of other sinkerballers such as former teammate Justin Masterson – and is one of the fastest in the game, at about 93 miles per hour (150 km/h). He also throws a changeup to left-handed batters and an infrequent curveball. His control of his pitches – including his fastball – receives compliments.
On a side note, Joe Kelly is a Southern California kid. He was born in Anaheim, graduated from Corona High School and was drafted in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the UC, Riverside. In 2007, as a freshman in Riverside, he was named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Year. Disappointingly, he did not grow up a Dodger fan. As a member of the Cardinals in 2012 he once said, "I never really liked the Dodgers growing up." You can watch that clubhouse interview here. As a positive, Joe Kelly is a pretty funny dude. Check out what I mean in the series of videos linked below where he plays a character named Jim Buchanan during 2018 spring training.

Here are more stories and videos about our newest reliever I thought worth checking out:
  • Video: NESN gives you an all-access look at Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly during spring training in 2016 (video link).
  • Video: NESN Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig play "Know Your Teammates" trivia on "Red Sox from Fort Myers" in 2015 (link here).
  • Video: Jim Buchanan Episode 1 – Joe Kelly goes undercover as reporter Jim Buchanan during 2018 Spring Training. While there, he runs into a number of encounters with security (link here).
  • Video: Jim Buchanan Episode 2 – Joe Kelly goes undercover as reporter Jim Buchanan during 2018 Spring Training. In this episode, he wanders onto the infield during Major League practice and interacts with Pedroia, Bogaerts, and Nunez (link here).
  • Video: Jim Buchanan Episode 3 - Joe Kelly goes undercover as reporter Jim Buchanan during 2018 Spring Training (link here).
  • Video: Jim Buchanan Episode 4 - Reporting from the Clubhouse (link here).
  • Video: Jim Buchanan Episode 5 – Joe Kelly Goes Undercover as Reporter Jim Buchanan During 2018 Spring Training, and runs into David Ortiz for an exclusive interview. (link here).
  • Video: NESN Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes go head-to-head in the premiere of NESN's 'Laugh Your Sox Off' where they tell jokes and if you laugh, you lose (video link).
  • Chad Moriyama at Dodgers Digest; "Dodgers reportedly ink Joe Kelly to surprising 3 year, $25 million deal."
  • Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors; "Dodgers Close To Deal With Joe Kelly."
If last October represented Kelly at his best, the righty hasn’t always been able to consistently deliver on that potential throughout his career.  Kelly posted a 4.39 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 2.13 K/BB rate over 65 2/3 innings in the regular season, and has had some issues avoiding walks over the last three seasons (4.6 BB/9 since 2016).  His 9.2 K/9 over that same stretch is nothing to sneeze at, of course, though it still seems somewhat of an underwhelming total given the pure electricity in Kelly’s arm.  He averaged 98.1 mph on his fastball last season, dropping just slightly from a 99 mph average in 2017.
In celebration of Joe's addition to the bullpen I made a couple fantasy custom Baseball cards of him that you can see at the very top.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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