Casey Kelly | RHP-SP | Boston Red Sox | D.o.B: 10-4-89 | 6’3” | 195 lbs | B/T: R/R | 1st rd, pk 30, 2008 from H.S. | BOS #2 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

Ranked in the Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list, Kelly actually regressed quite a bit this year. With a fluid and athletic delivery, Kelly throws a 88 to 93 MPH fastball that he can cut or sink with stellar command, a great and potentially plus 12-to-6 curveball, and a deceptive changeup, this former two-way player ran into a road block at Double-A. Although he once played shortstop, he couldn’t hit well enough for the BoSox to seriously consider playing him there long term (but his defense was awesome). All three of my sources (Baseball America, John Sickels, and Keith Law) state explicitly or implicitly that he throws strikes, has front-line starter potential, is advanced beyond his years, and that he may add a few MPH onto his fastball as he develops and matures. How did his season fare (2010 Stats are at Double-A and had 95 innings pitched at Single-A and High-A in 2009):

2010 Stats: 7.7 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 95 IP | 5.31 ERA | 4.23 FIP | 1.61 WHIP | .9 Hr/9 | 11.2 H/9 | .365 BABIP | 45 GB% | 18.0 LD% | 32.9 FB% | 9.4 Hr/FB%

Career Stats: 7.3 K/9 | 2.4 BB/9 | 190 IP | 3.69 ERA | 3.67 FIP | 1.23 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 8.7 H/9 | .301 BABIP | 48.1 GB% | 14.6 LD% | 33.3 FB% | 7.0 Hr/FB%

So much for the hype. I am truly amazed that a pitcher who lacks a blazing fastball or a high strikeout ratio was so highly ranked (Keith Law ranked him his 18th overall prospect pre-2010, and at midseason ranked him 10th overall – excluding other prospects already called up). Nevertheless, his fantasy upside isn’t worthy of the prospect upside. He’s a better real life pitcher. His 2010 stats are inflated due to a .365 BABIP but his 4.23 FIP show us his truer performance. I’d like to pick a quote from Keith Law, “Would it be unfair to say that I expected him to perform better in Double-A? He’s still just 20 and is in his first year as a full-time pitcher, but I thought he would treat Eastern League hitters the way he treated Class A hitters last year: with disdain.” The truth of the matter is, he pitched at Double-A at age 20, was his first full year pitching, and, well, probably shows the volatility of values in prospects. If you bought into the hype, don’t sell him thirty cents on the dollar, but if you can buy him for that, think of a 7.5 strikeout per nine, 3.5 walks per nine, with a mid-four ERA type pitcher in the majors until he reaches his prime.

Grant Green | SS | Oakland Athletics | D.o.B: 9-27-87 | 6’3” | 170 lbs | B/T: R/R | 1st rd, pk 13 2009 from College | OAK #3 ranked prospect according to Baseball America (2010) | MiLB Player Page

Every year, fantasy experts are looking for the value pick at the middle infield spot. In 2009, it was Elvis Andrus, in 2010 Grey was pimping Everth Cabrera and Alcides Escobar but it looks like Starlin Castro was this year’s steal (although I was skeptical of Castro thriving in the majors). The 2012 pimped out MI will be Grant Green. I’m going out on a limb and saying that now, meaning, it is possible Green could be 2011’s Starlin Castro. Green has a short compact swing that produces line drives and some slight natural loft. There are times when his swing becomes wonky, but for the most part he keeps his mechanics sound. His power potential is considered average – think potentially 20 home runs – Keith Law says, “[M]ight hit for more power if he didn’t leak or let the ball travel deeper, although his swing is probably more geared to line-drive contact than big flies. He’s patient and should post at least adequate OBPs, although pitchers can get him out now by changing speeds on him, an adjustment he’ll have to make by AA.” His defense ranges from solid to Gold Glove caliber depending on the scout. With a strong arm, soft hands, good range, and an athletic body, this seems to be a fair outlook. However, Keith Law has heard from scouts that they don’t believe Green will stay at shortstop while Sickels and Baseball America see him as a shortstop long-term – could end up at third or in the outfield where his plus speed would play well. This is how his 2010 season fared (Playing at High-A California League):

2010 Stats: .318/.363/.520 | 548 AB | 65 XBH | 20 Hr | .202 ISO | 9/5 SB/CS | 117:38 K:BB | .375 BABIP | 51.5 GB% | 14.6 LD% | 33.8 FB%

Career Stats: had only 20 plate appearances in addition to 2010 stats

League average slash line for California League hitters: .275/.344/.423 and Oakland’s minor league affiliate Stockton Ports slash line: .269/.350/.432. Green played well, all things considered, and received a postseason All-Star selection. His plus speed hasn’t really translated to the base paths with only nine steals in fourteen attempts, although he did leg out six triples. 117 strikeouts to only 38 walks isn’t exciting or confidence inducing. Matter of fact, a 4:1 K:BB probably means his .375 BABIP played a key role in his pretty looking slash line. (It is important to note, that although strikeouts are generally a bad thing, the more strikeouts a player has, the high his batting average on balls in play should be because he is putting fewer balls into play. Consequently, the balls that are put into player generally are hit better. See: Delmon Young, B.J. Upton, Mark Reynolds pre-2010, Adam Dunn in recent years. I can’t find the article at FanGraphs, but that is where I found out about this interesting point, but I digress.) The power looks to be in the doubles (39 of them this year) and the home runs, I personally believe, were due to his hitting environment. What you see here, would be his upside (See: Sickels: “At worst = .270-.280 with 15 hr; at best= .300 with 20 hr and Gold Glove defense. Has a high ceiling and a high floor.”). His low line-drive rate (14.6%) and high ground ball rate (51.5%) will result in fewer home runs in more pitcher friendly environments. Nevertheless, at just 22, these numbers are great. Scouts believe he is a poor man’s Troy Tulowitzki. I’d take that every year, let’s just hope he hits before September and isn’t as injury prone.

  1. Dracula says:

    A Red Sox prospect got overhyped? Color me shocked.

  2. Potus says:

    Scout this and get yourself some Yu Darvish! What are his chances of coming to America next year and getting his royal *&^%# ‘cleaned’? If he does come what type of numbers is he likely to put up? Anything on the street that says he makes his way over here or does he rot in Japan another year? Thanks in advance to whomever answers my question!

  3. Smokey

    Smokey says:

    @Potus: •A source tells Rosenthal that Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish is highly likely to be posted this offseason. The Yankees, unsurprisingly, are keeping close watch on the righthander. One scout says that he doesn’t see the 24-year-old as being much more than a No. 3 starter. The ball in Japan is smaller, starters only work once a week, and as we’ve seen the transition for those starters can be very problematic. As of sept 18th

  4. Stephen says:

    @Dracula: Surprising huh?

    @Potus: Darvish used to say he was never gonna play in the MLB, that he wanted to stay loyal to Japan. If Smokey’s comment is accurate, well, then we might have another Hiroki Kuroda, or a Dice-K. That would be what I expect from him if he came to the majors (a nice number three starter on any Non-AL East contender). Most of the scouting information that I would be able to gather would come from a google search.

  5. Potus says:

    Thanks Smokey. Last round of FAAB tonight and I need to drop a pitcher and attempt to pickup Kershaw. I am stacked with keepers for next year but am unsure who to get rid of now. I have all these high upside ‘potential’ closers. Between Wheeler, Downs and Kimbrel which one would you drop if any? I’ll lose about $15 in salary(~$15 vs $1) as well in a standard $260 league. Thanks in advance and nice turn around on that first question!

  6. Stephen says:

    @Potus: Zach Wheeler? If it is Dan Wheeler and you get to keep Kershaw for the next year, I’d take Kershaw.

  7. Smokey

    Smokey says:

    @Stephen: that is from Ken Rosenthal, on mlbtr. Definately not enough curse words in their to be my own thought.

  8. Potus says:

    Guilty as charged! Dan Wheeler it is. I just have this sneaky feeling that TB will pickup his relatively cheap option and he has a decent chance to be their closer. His numbers over the last 6 years are fairly spectacular. Top 10 for RP I would venture to guess? If he is their closer he is a $30 commodity held over for $1 while Kershaw is a $30 commodity held over @ $15. Just my thoughts. But thanks Stephen!

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