Red Sox: Predictions and Grades for the 2016 pitching staff
Joe Kelly is one my personal favorites. It’s not just his pitching, but his attitude and humor that makes him such a valuable clubhouse guy. Kelly was traded to the Sox at the 2014 trade deadline from the St. Louis Cardinals. When you first see a small guy wearing glasses walking to the mound, you wouldn’t seem to expect much. But when Kelly fires in a 98 MPH fastball at the hitters, you then think you would see some positive results from him.
The problem with Kelly is that he throws his 98 MPH fastball either right down the heart of the plate, or completely nowhere near the plate. In the beginning of the season, that issue started to show with Kelley. With an ERA of 4.94 in April, 6.53 in May, and 5.23 in June, Kelly was simply not helping this team. It came to the point where he was left out of the rotation for a little bit to find his rhythm.
Come August, after Kelley rejoined the rotation, it seemed like a whole new pitcher was on the mound. Going 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA, Kelly was locked in. His control increased dramatically and having the ability to keep his velocity up late into games really made him hard to hit.
Next: Red Sox will be AL's best team in 2016
Even with multiple months where Kelly was hot garbage, I am still satisfied with him being our number 5. His hard fastball and slider with late tail makes him stay competitive. I think he has a lot to prove in 2016 and don’t be surprised if we see the August Joe Kelly rather than the April, May, and June Joe Kelly next season.
Prediction: 12-8, 3.86 ERA 156.2 innings pitched