Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

33-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
Out
Injury Biceps
Est. Return 2/1/2022
2021 Fantasy Outlook
In his second outing, Kelly threw dangerously close to Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, drawing an eight-game suspension for instigating a benches-clearing scuffle between the 2017 World Series combatants. Kelly appealed and made five more appearances before being placed on the IL with shoulder soreness. At the time, had yet to surrender a run in 6.1 innings, but with only five strikeouts against five walks. While convalescing, Kelly's suspension was reduced to five games. He returned in mid-September to hurl 3.2 frames, giving up his first two runs while whiffing four with two walks. Kelly has one year left on his contract, so he'll be back with the Dodgers in some capacity. Kenley Jansen is showing signs of decline, but Kelly is no longer next in line. With a drop in velocity along with his K% and BB% heading in the wrong direction, Kelly could be stuck in the middle innings. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#600
ADP
$Signed a three-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers in December of 2018. Contract includes a $12 million team option ($4 million buyout) for 2022.
Option declined
PFree Agent  
Biceps
November 6, 2021
Kelly (biceps) had his team option declined by the Dodgers on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Kelly will be paid a $4 million buyout rather than a $12 million salary. He was an important part of the Dodgers' bullpen in 2021, riding a career-high 27.5 percent strikeout rate to a 2.86 ERA. The team could still try to bring him back at a lower dollar amount, though the strained biceps he suffered during the NLCS adds a fair amount of uncertainty to the veteran's profile this winter.
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Pitching Stats
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2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
15
Last 10 Games
15
Last 5 Games
14
How many pitches does Joe Kelly generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Joe Kelly generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-4%
BAA vs RHP
2021
 
 
-9%
BAA vs RHP
2020
Even Split
2019
 
 
-2%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2019vs Left .220 196 53 20 38 11 0 4
Since 2019vs Right .211 254 68 24 47 9 1 5
2021vs Left .183 81 20 8 13 5 0 1
2021vs Right .167 101 30 7 15 2 1 2
2020vs Left .235 17 4 0 4 2 0 0
2020vs Right .235 25 5 7 4 1 0 0
2019vs Left .247 98 29 12 21 4 0 3
2019vs Right .241 128 33 10 28 6 0 3
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2019
 
 
-25%
ERA at Home
2021
 
 
-14%
ERA at Home
2020
 
 
-100%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-41%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2019Home 3.10 1.07 52.1 4 1 2 11.2 3.6 1.0
Since 2019Away 4.15 1.37 52.0 3 3 1 9.5 3.8 0.5
2021Home 2.66 0.85 23.2 2 0 2 12.2 3.4 1.1
2021Away 3.10 1.13 20.1 0 0 0 8.0 2.7 0.0
2020Home 4.15 1.38 4.1 0 0 0 12.5 4.2 0.0
2020Away 0.00 1.50 4.2 0 0 0 3.9 7.7 0.0
2019Home 3.33 1.23 24.1 2 1 0 10.0 3.7 1.1
2019Away 5.67 1.52 27.0 3 3 1 11.7 4.0 1.0
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Stat Review
How does Joe Kelly compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 30 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
3.33
 
K/9
10.2
 
BB/9
3.1
 
HR/9
0.6
 
Fastball
97.7 mph
 
ERA
2.86
 
WHIP
0.98
 
BABIP
.252
 
GB/FB
3.05
 
Left On Base
69.6%
 
Exit Velocity
79.8 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
3.5%
 
Spin Rate
2415 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
25.1%
 
Swinging Strike
11.5%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Joe Kelly
MLB: Top Impending Free Agents
37 days ago
With the World Series in full swing, Clay Link offers a quick reminder of the top players set to become free agents this winter (by fantasy value).
FanDuel MLB: Saturday National League Championship Series Targets
43 days ago
Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall is an inexpensive option as Atlanta looks to close out the series against the Dodgers Saturday night.
Playoff Primer: The Rankings
61 days ago
Todd Zola ranks players by position for fantasy playoff leagues. Chicago's Jose Abreu is tough to beat at first base.
The Z Files: My Top 250 Rest-of-Season Pitchers
111 days ago
Todd Zola offers his projected pitcher rankings for the stretch run as two National League teams split the top four spots between them.
Collette Calls: Everyone Gets A Save!
116 days ago
Jason Collette looks at the league-wide saves situation, as it seems these days that everyone gets a save!
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Kelly's tenure with Los Angeles started in about the worst way possible, with the right-hander blowing three leads and taking two losses in his first five appearances in Dodger Blue. He was better from there, though the Dodgers had to take measures to limit Kelly down the stretch in the regular season due to poor "overall body" health. While Kelly did end up pitching in the NLCS, he struggled to the tune of six earned runs in 2.1 innings. There were some positives from his 2019 body of work: Kelly lifted his K-rate to a career-high 27.4% while trimming his walk rate to 9.7%. He was one of the most prolific groundball relievers in the game with a GB rate north of 61%, but unfortunately for Kelly, a quarter of the balls that got up left the yard (25% HR/FB). The contract isn't looking great, but Kelly still throws 98 mph and the team will be looking to him to fill a key piece in the bridge to Kenley Jansen.
Kelly endured a roller-coaster 2018 campaign. The flamethrower allowed four runs and recorded just one out in his season debut (in late March) but responded by not allowing a run in April (0.53 WHIP, 10:1 K:BB in 11.1 innings). Kelly's inconsistency continued, as the right-hander posted an ERA north of 8.30 in three of the following months (June, July and September) while keeping his ERA below 1.50 in the other three months (May, August and October), including a 0.79 ERA and 13:0 K:BB across 11.1 playoff frames for the eventual World Series champions. While the 30-year-old saw a jump in his strikeout rate, his 9.3 K/9 still seems somewhat disappointing for a late-inning arm with a 98.5 mph average fastball. Kelly appears primed to serve as Kenley Jansen's top setup man after signing a three-year, $25 million deal with the Dodgers in free agency.
Kelly was coming off of what was arguably the worst statistical season of his career in 2016 (5.18 ERA over 40 innings), but the veteran reliever twirled a dominant final month of the season which helped establish him as one of Boston's more reliable relief arms heading into 2018 campaign. After some offseason mechanical adjustments, Kelly saw his fastball velocity significantly increase to a blistering average of 99 mph. Unfortunately, this uptick in velocity didn't correlate to better strikeout numbers, as his strikeout rate actually fell nearly four percentage points to a very pedestrian 21.9 percent rate. His walk rate remained high (11.3 percent), but he was able to greatly suppress his home-run rate en route to a 2.79 ERA (3.49 FIP) over 58 innings of relief. Despite his improvements, Kelly's still a middle reliever with strikeout and command issues -- that isn't a very appealing combination in fantasy.
Joe Kelly teased the Red Sox in 2016 with his high-90s fastball but would often lose his mechanics, missing the strike zone, and failed to use his secondary pitches enough. In six starts, he had an ERA of 8.46 while giving up 31 hits and 19 walks in 22.1 innings. He was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, where the organization decided to transition him to a reliever, a role for which many in MLB thought he was best suited. He took to it quite well, posting a 0.56 ERA in 13 appearances with the PawSox. Kelly continued to be effective when called up in September, putting up a 0.64 ERA while striking out 20 and walking three in 14 innings for Boston to close out the season. He added three scoreless and hitless postseason frames against the Indians. Manager John Farrell attributed his success to an improved slider. His dominant finish to the season sealed Kelly's fate as a full-time, mid-to-late-inning reliever in 2017.
Kelly has intoxicating velocity that keeps him interesting even as he continues to pile up mediocre results. He looked good in 2012-13, but his best work was done in the bullpen while he lucked into good results as a starter despite a 1.6 K/BB ratio in 31 starts. He's been a full-time starter since and the mediocrity has shown itself clearly with a 4.57 ERA and 1.9 K/BB ratio in 231 innings. His best secondary pitch is a changeup that helps him neutralize lefties with just a 29-point platoon split. The problem is that he just allows too much contact leaving him open to variance like the .274 to .320 BABIP jump we saw in 2015. Further exacerbating the issue is that his strikeout pitch - the slider - gets lit up any time it doesn't generate a strikeout (.908 OPS, 33% K rate since 2014). There are some intriguing elements, but his MLB work marries well with his minor league track record so it's hard to project a major jump for him as a starter.
Kelly posted a 2.69 ERA over 37 appearances – 15 starts – in 2013 and opened last season as the Cardinals' fifth starter. There were red flags, particularly with his strikeout and walk rates, as Kelly's xFIP in 2013 (4.19) indicated that a sub-3.00 simply wasn't sustainable. That proved to be true, and while Kelly pitched reasonably well, he was sidelined after three starts by a hamstring injury that kept him out of action for three months. Upon his return, he was hit hard and then traded to Boston in the John Lackey deal. With Boston's starting rotation decimated by trades and the team relying on young starting prospects, the 26-year-old Kelly became the team's No. 2 starter. Even with the offseason changes in the rotation, Kelly is expected to begin the year with one of the five starting spots. He may be ideally suited for the bullpen, where his fastball will have even more velocity (he averaged 94.7 mph on the pitch in 2014) and he won't have to rely as much on his secondary offerings.
Kelly started the season as a long-relief arm out of the bullpen before getting a shot in the rotation at the start of July. Kelly took the opportunity and ran with it, posting an 11-2 record with a 2.32 ERA over his final 14 starts. Despite an excellent showing in the rotation for the Cardinals, Kelly's role for the start of 2014 is murky. The Cardinals have a talented group of young arms to put behind ace Adam Wainwright and Kelly is a good bet to make the rotation next season, but it's far from a guarantee that he will stick if he ends up solidifying a spot when spring training breaks in March.
Kelly started 16 games for the Cardinals last year and threw eight in relief, where he was far more successful. In 91.1 innings as a starter, he had a respectable 3.74 ERA but a not-as-respectable 1.41 WHIP and 59:32 K:BB. Meanwhile, as a reliever, he threw 15.2 innings and finished with a 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 16:4 K:BB ratio. Naturally, the Cardinals are planning on using him as a starter this year. He's still just 24, and has room to grow, but it would be nice to see the K:BB ratio improve a bit before throwing him into the rotation for good.
More Fantasy News
Dropped from NLCS roster
PLos Angeles Dodgers  
Biceps
October 22, 2021
Kelly (biceps) was dropped from the Dodgers' NLCS roster Friday, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Done for season
PLos Angeles Dodgers  
Biceps
October 21, 2021
Kelly (biceps) will not pitch again this season, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports.
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Injury to biceps
PLos Angeles Dodgers  
Biceps
October 21, 2021
Kelly exited Game 5 of the NLCS against Atlanta on Thursday with right biceps tightness, Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register reports.
ANALYSIS
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Dealing with shoulder injury
PLos Angeles Dodgers  
Shoulder
October 21, 2021
Kelly exited Game 5 of the NLCS against Atlanta on Thursday with shoulder stiffness, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
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Serving as opener
PLos Angeles Dodgers  
October 21, 2021
Kelly will serve as the opener in Game 5 of the NLCS against Atlanta on Thursday, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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