Red Sox players with the most to gain and lose in Spring Training
Joe Kelly: Win
Similar to Pomeranz, the trade that saw that Red Sox acquire Joe Kelly hasn’t played out in Boston’s favor. Sent over with Allen Craig for John Lackey in 2014, management has insisted that he was fit for the starting rotation up until July last season. Since officially transitioning to the bullpen, Kelly has fit into a role that he seems perfectly suited for.
We knew what Joe Kelly was a starting pitcher. In 413.1 career innings, he owns a 4.13 ERA – suggesting nothing more than mediocrity. However, as a reliever last season he put up a 1.02 ERA and 10.9 K/9 in 14 appearances. Small sample size aside, Kelly was flat out impressive. Especially during the postseason where he retired all 11 batters faced, three by strikeout.
Expecting the type of numbers he put up last season is foolish, he would have to be included in the discussion for one of the top-3 relievers in baseball. But it is reasonable to expect him to be a solid relief pitcher going forward. Kelly’s more effective in this role and the underlying numbers are there to back it up. Tyler Thornburg and Craig Kimbrel are locks to begin the year as the two main late inning guys, but if what we’ve seen out of Kelly is for real, he could become a big weapon for the Red Sox late in games.