STAT LINE 7 games (3 starts), 0-3, 3.04 ERA / 4.22 FIP, 23.2 IP, 16 K, 5 BB
The season wasn’t riding on Casey Kelly’s performance. On the day of his call-up, this was what Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News wrote:
After losing five of their last six, it’s possible the front office has begun to realize the uphill battle may be too steep to climb for a team that’s hovered around .500 for most of the season. If the Giants feel there’s too much ground to overcome over the final two months of the year, the club could put a handful of their players on waivers to clear roster spots and opportunities for prospects and younger talent.
The Giants were Kelly’s fourth organization since being drafted by the Red Sox in 2008. He was a big part of the trade that netted the Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez. Since then, his career has been unremarkable. Prior to his 2018, though, it was even less remarkable: 2-8, 6.39 ERA / 4.51 FIP, 61 ERA+ in 62 major league innings.
He didn’t become a premiere starting pitcher with the Giants, but he did show his utility. Maybe he’s not on a Vogelsongian course, but there’s something to be said about how the Giants both spun Casey Kelly and Derek Holland into useful major league pitchers in 2018.
Role on the 2018 team
Casey Kelly took Derek Law’s spot on the roster after it was clear that Derek Law’s days as a quality major league reliever might be numbered. He had struck out 104 and walked just 37 in 130 innings with the River Cats prior to being called up. He was the 28-year old baseball veteran the Giants have typically loved but have typically been unable to call up at a moment’s notice mid-season to get some decent performance out of.
This was the lottery ticket that sort of worked out. He spelled rookies Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez and kept the Giants from having to start Ty Blach or Chris Stratton very much from August on.
Role on the 2019 team
The Giants released him to clear space on their 40 man roster, but after his decent brief performance, you can easily see him catching on with another organization
with a minor league deal and Spring Training invitation, especially since he just turned 29.
I’m not his agent, but let’s take a quick look at some numbers to make that case. Using Statcast data, here are the major league average spin rates for his four pitches (4-seam fastball, sinker, curveball, slider):
4-seam fastball: 2,226 rpm
Sinker: 2,123 rpm
Curveball: 2,308 rpm
Slider: 2,090 rpm
Here are Kelly’s spin rates:
4-seam fastball: 2,229 rpm
Sinker: 2,092 rpm
Curveball: 2,189 rpm
Slider: 2,180 rpm
There’s still some baseball left in that body. And, as noted by gianator in the comments below, he actually signed a deal with the KBO’s LG Twins on November 21st