Merrill Kelly

Age 32 SP
  • Born 10/14/1988
  • Bats R
  • Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
2019 Statistics
2020 Prediction
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13.4% Thrown 86.0 MPH 23.4 CSW%
21.4% Thrown 80.6 MPH 33.5 CSW%
46.0% Thrown 91.9 MPH 28 CSW%
19.2% Thrown 89.9 MPH 22.5 CSW%

Kelly’s changeup was the pitch that gave him the most trouble this year as it had the highest batting average and wOBA against at .326 and .391 respectively. This may not be too surprising if we take into account its vertical break being in the very bottom tier of the league at 24 inches—six under league average.

GIF made by Andy Patton. Blurb written by Justin Filteau

The curveball was Kelly’s go-to breaking pitch, and rightfully so, as it had the lowest batting average against at .215 along with 57 strikeouts and only one walk for an outstanding walk-to-strikeout rate of 0.02. He generates above-average vertical break (55 inches, three above league average) which helped him get many batters to swing and miss outside the zone (O-Swing of 40%) and eventually rack up all of those strikeouts.

GIF made by Andy Patton. Blurb written by Justin Filteau

Kelly’s average four-seamer got him into a lot of trouble in 2019. At 92 mph, it lacks juice and command. A worrying 12.1 BB% is trending in the wrong direction. It still holds a rexpectable 5.8 pVal, however.

GIF made by NP. Blurb written by Benjamin Haller

Kelly had success with his cutter this season as he held batters to a .262 batting average and a wOBA of .309. His ability to induce double plays with it (8) was a big contributing factor in this success. However, he did give up as many homeruns with it (seven) as his curveball and fastball despite throwing it 60 fewer times than the former and 400 with the latter.

GIF made by Andy Patton. Blurb written by Justin Filteau
43.4% Thrown 91.7 MPH
14.3% Thrown 86.0 MPH
14.3% Thrown 89.3 MPH
8.2% Thrown 91.7 MPH

Kelly’s primary offering is his four-seamer which hitters can expect to see just north of 40% of the time. The velocity on his pitch isn’t all that exciting as his fastball sits at about 91 mph, but it has been effective at making outs, allowing just a .190 BA.

The primary knockout pitch in Kelly’s arsenal is his changeup. Out of the 9 hitters that faced it 3 of them struck out, and none were able to get a basehit. It’s the only pitch in Kelly’s arsenal that has a SwStr% above 10% (15.4%).

Kelly’s cutter has been thrown 26 times, and he has yet to get one batter to swing and miss at the pitch. Kelly needs to solve this issue going forward if he expects to keep this pitch in his repertoire.

There have been only 15 sinkers thrown in Kelly’s MLB career thus far. The pitch sits around the same velocity as his fastball but it gets more downward and glove side break than his primary heater.

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