Change-UpDecember 08, 2009
Casey Kelly to Pitch, Steve Jobs to focus on Apple, Phil Micklelson to Forego Luge at 2010 Winter Olympics to Work on Golf
By Patrick Sullivan

Any news is big news for Red Sox fans, and so yesterday when it was announced that prized farmhand Casey Kelly would pitch full-time and give up his career as a shortstop, reporters pounced. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald were quick to post stories. Twitter was abuzz.

Last night, I offered my two cents on my Twitter feed:

Big news for #redsox today: Casey Kelly chooses pitching. Elsewhere, Martin Brodeur remains goalie & NOT moving to forward.

I understand reporters have to cover these sorts of things - nothing at all against Amalie Benjamin or John Tomase. Benjamin's report, loaded with quotes from Red Sox Minor League infield instructor Gary DiSarcina, was terrific. The joke lies in the extent to which the writing was on the wall for Kelly. He could have continued at shortstop for part of the year if he wished. A bigtime recruit to play quarterback for the University of Tennessee, Kelly's ability to return to play college football offered him leverage even as the Sox urged him to focus on his pitching.

But just look at his numbers. He's a career .219/.282/.336 hitter in the Minors. Meanwhile, as a hurler, he has flashed command well beyond his years. It's no secret just how great the Red Sox brass thinks Kelly can be. At first glance, his 74 strikeouts in 95 professional innings pitched might underwhelm a bit. But when you consider he was 19 splitting the season between the Sally and Carolina leagues and sported a 4.63 K/BB, you can start to appreciate what the Red Sox see. For context, the list of Major League pitchers who were able to post a 4.63 K/BB in at least 95 innings in 2009 consisted of Zack Greinke, Javier Vazquez, Dan Haren and Roy Halladay.

We all have to make choices in our careers that shape how our professional lives play out. Yesterday Casey Kelly made a smart (and obvious) career move.


I agree with the move and with you except your rationale is a little ridiculous. Because Kelly is a .219/.282/.336 hitter in his MiL career it's an obvious decision? He's a very good and talented pitcher, he's also a talented position player. The reason why he's going to be pitching full time now is because he's freakishly good at pitching and it has nothing to do with his shortcomings with the stick. If people judged 19 year olds by their stats, where would we be today? Stats are only a piece of someone's true value and even more so with young minor leaguers.

Kelly actually plays a decent SS and has good mechanics at the plate. My point is, the reason Kelly is going to be pitching full time now has to do with his abilities as a pitcher and not with anything else!

Indeed, it's ridiculous to compare his performance record in MiLB as a hitter to his performance record as a pitcher.

Thanks for the comment!