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Joe Kelly (Photo: USA Baseball)


Biographical Data
Player Name:Joe Kelly
Position:Relief Pitcher
School:UC Riverside
School Type:College
Academic Class:Junior
Birthdate:6/9/88
Height:6'1"
Weight:178 lbs.
Bats:Right
Throws:Right
Report Date(s):4/28/09
Game(s):San Diego


Focus Area
Comments
Fastball:Kelly can crank it up to 99 mph and sits regularly at 96 mph.
Fastball movement:Has filthy arm-side life when he stays on line, but hitters tend to track it well because of a big arm arc.
Slider:An average pitch that he throws 81-85 mph. He can throw it for strikes with a late 3/4 break when he's on top
Changeup:It's rare for a closer to have one, but it's an average offering for him, thrown 80-83 mph. It has a late drop that looks kind of like a splitter.
Control:His command is below average. He's a thrower more than a pitcher.
Poise:Competes well, but has a tendency to answer every situation by throwing too hard.
Physical Description:Kelly is rail thin, with gangly arms and legs that make him look taller than he is.
Medical Update:Had a turned ankle, but is basically healthy.
Strengths:Has the plus stuff you'd look for in a power-armed Major League closer.
Weaknesses:For a guy with that kind of stuff, he gets hit way too much. His command is inconsistent and the torque on his delivery could take a toll.
Summary:Anytime a college closer can throw 99 mph consistently, with movement, there's going to be interest. Throw in the fact that Kelly has a nasty slider and a pretty good changeup and there'd be reason for scouts to be excited. But Kelly has been far too hittable for a guy with that kind of stuff. He doesn't have great command, and a long arm arc allows hitters to track the ball too well. Right now, he's more of a thrower than a pitcher. That said, it's hard to imagine his power arm staying on the board very long in June.