The Casey Kelly Situation In Boston Brings Back Memories Of Yesteryear
December 11th 2009 16:49
The Boston Red Sox and their 20 year old #1 pick in 2008, Casey Kelly, came to a mutual agreement over the past week or so that Kelly will be exclusively concentrating on developing his skills as a pitcher in Boston’s minor league system. Theo Epstein and crew all said that it was Kelly’s decision to make on his own, but I have a hunch when they met recently, that he was ‘persuaded’ a little as far as which way to lean toward moving forward. Could the emergence of another 20 year old shortstop, Jose Iglesias, who I wrote about back in October, have anything to do with making this decision right now? Who knows, maybe that has something to do with it. Iglesias is a defensive wizard and hit .275 with 2 HR and 12 RBI in 18 games in the Arizona Fall League. Developing offensively is the main concern with Iglesias. Maybe the Sox ride out Marco Scutaro for two years and Iglesias will be ready to step in when 2012 rolls around.
For those of you that don’t know, Casey Kelly has split his time between shortstop and pitcher since being drafted in the summer of ’08. The organization has not hidden the fact that they feel his best chance of succeeding is when he’s toeing the rubber. Kelly was 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA in A ball last year. His batting average when he was playing shortstop was .219 with 4 HR and 29 RBI in 76 games.
Epstein said that Kelly will have every opportunity to win a spot in the starting rotation for the Double A---Portland Sea Dogs---in 2010. Kelly feels like he is much further along as a pitcher than he is at shortstop and thinks he can make an impact much quicker this way. Epstein and the Sox brass seem to feel the same way and have said that they could see him up in Boston within a year or two.
This all got me thinking back to Frankie Rodriguez. Do you remember good ole Frankie? No, not K-Rod! That’s Francisco Rodriguez. I’m talking about the highly touted 1990 2nd Round pick of the Red Sox. That is the last time I can remember something like this happening in Boston, where a decision had to be made with such a highly touted draft pick permanently becoming a position player or a pitcher. Rodriguez ended up only having a cup of coffee with Boston in 1995 before being traded to the Twins for closer, Rick Aguilera. Back in 1990 when the Sox drafted Rodriguez, they promised him he could start his career as a shortstop. He was nominated for junior college player of the year in 1991(he went to JC after the Sox drafted him for a year) and led all of JUCO in HR with 26 and RBI with 90. He also led in strikeouts (as a pitcher) with 139 that year.
Things never ended up panning out for Frankie in the Big Leagues. He had a career 29-39 win-loss record, with a 5.53 career ERA and has been out of baseball since 2001. The future appears to be much brighter for Casey Kelly, but in the great game of baseball, one never knows. As Red Sox fans, let’s all hope for the best. This kid looks like he could be something special.
( For a quick scouting report on Casey Kelly, check out Soxprospects.com )
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