Carson Kelly
Carson Kelly
24-Year-Old CatcherC
Arizona Diamondbacks
2019 Fantasy Outlook
A miserable spring took Kelly out of the conversation for an Opening Day roster spot with the Cardinals. Opportunity knocked in May when Yadier Molina hit the disabled list, but Kelly made it less than two weeks before he landed on the DL with an injury of his own (hamstring). Kelly was optioned shortly after being activated and remained in the minors until September, ultimately logging a mere 10 at-bats for the big club over the final month as St. Louis made a last-gasp effort at a playoff spot. At Triple-A, Kelly walked as many times as he struck out in 349 PA and roped line drives at an above-average 22.9% clip. Now that he's out from Molina's shadow after being traded in the Paul Goldschmidt deal, Kelly should finally get an extended opportunity to show what he can do against big-league pitching as Arizona's primary backstop. The power is middling, but Kelly is very much in the second catcher mix given his contact skills and expected role. Read Past Outlooks
$Traded to the Diamondbacks in December of 2018.
In line to make Opening Day roster
CArizona Diamondbacks
March 18, 2019
Kelly has gone 8-for-29 at the plate with five doubles, no home runs and an RBI in 11 Cactus League games.
There was some thought the Diamondbacks might carry three catchers into Opening Day as they have the past two seasons, but those plans may have changed after the recent signing of outfielder Adam Jones, who is slated to fill one of the team's available bench spots, according to Steve Gilbert of If that's the case, Kelly could have a slightly clearer path to steady at-bats than initially believed, though it's still likely manager Torey Lovullo sticks with a fairly even timeshare between the young backstop and Alex Avila in that scenario. Kelly has shown some excellent plate discipline during his time in the minors and brief cups of coffee in the big leagues, but he doesn't project as a plus source of batting average or power and will provide most of his value on the defensive end.
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Batting Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .408 25 2 0 1 0 .167 .200 .208
Since 2016vs Right .416 106 5 0 9 0 .151 .233 .183
2018vs Left .182 11 1 0 1 0 .091 .091 .091
2018vs Right .375 31 0 0 2 0 .125 .250 .125
2017vs Left .282 11 0 0 0 0 .100 .182 .100
2017vs Right .487 64 5 0 6 0 .186 .250 .237
2016vs Left 1.667 3 1 0 0 0 .667 .667 1.000
2016vs Right .091 11 0 0 1 0 .000 .091 .000
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .287 59 2 0 3 0 .080 .207 .080
Since 2016Away .512 72 5 0 7 0 .209 .243 .269
2018Home .250 17 1 0 0 0 .000 .250 .000
2018Away .348 25 0 0 3 0 .174 .174 .174
2017Home .358 35 1 0 2 0 .129 .229 .129
2017Away .539 40 4 0 4 0 .211 .250 .289
2016Home .000 7 0 0 1 0 .000 .000 .000
2016Away .929 7 1 0 0 0 .333 .429 .500
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Stat Review
How does Carson Kelly compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). 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.
BB Rate
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Defensive Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Carson Kelly
Spring Training Job Battles: Nearing the Finish Line
6 days ago
Erik Halterman checks in on all of the relevant job battles around Major League Baseball as spring training winds down.
Spring Training Job Battles: Past the Halfway Point
13 days ago
Erik Halterman provides a mid-March update on all the relevant job battles around Major League Baseball.
Spring Training Job Battles: The Games Begin
29 days ago
Erik Halterman details all the relevant job battles around Major League Baseball at the outset of spring training.
MLB Barometer: Early Risers -- Hitters
75 days ago
Derek VanRiper looks at some of the early draft season risers among hitters, including Daniel Murphy, who signed a two-year deal with the Rockies in December.
Farm Futures: September Call-up Candidates
222 days ago
James Anderson previews the players most likely to get added to September rosters, including a return engagement for Rockies second baseman Garrett Hampson.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Catching prospects should essentially be considered guilty of being replacement-level fantasy options until proven innocent. Kelly was seen by almost every outlet as one of the top catching prospects in baseball entering the 2017 season. We all knew he would find it hard to get consistent playing time behind Yadier Molina on the organizational depth chart, but the idea of a big-league-ready catcher who could hit for a decent average with some pop was appealing, even in limited at-bats. Not only was Kelly held down at Triple-A for much of the season so that he could get regular at-bats, but he now has a career .171 average with zero home runs in 89 MLB plate appearances. He hit well again at Triple-A, but finds himself in the same situation as a year ago -- behind a well-paid legend on a contender. The Cardinals also have another catching prospect in Andrew Knizner who is getting close to the majors and may be a better version of Kelly. At least this season Kelly figures to spend the whole year in the majors.
After performing as an above league-average hitter at Double-A (115 wRC+) and essentially a league-average hitter at Triple-A (98 wRC+), Kelly earned his first trip to the majors when rosters expanded in September. During his time with the big club, he went 2-for-14 across 10 games. He was also extremely impressive in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .286/.387/.455 with three home runs and a 4:13 K:BB in 94 plate appearances. While it was exciting to see Kelly climb his way through the ranks of the Cardinals organization, Yadier Molina remains the unquestioned starting catcher in St. Louis. Kelly will compete with veteran Eric Fryer for the backup catcher spot in camp and may return to Memphis in order to continue to see the workload of a No. 1 catcher. If Molina were to get hurt, however, Kelly would figure to see the bulk of the action behind the dish and would become relevant in all two-catcher formats.
In his first full season as a catching prospect, Kelly struggled to make an impact with Low-A Peoria. Kelly still holds a ton of potential as he's been playing professionally since he was 17. He's managed in increase his walk rate and decrease his strikeout rate each year since turning pro. Learning a new position is never easy, and catcher may be the most difficult so some growing pains are to be expected. Still the Cardinals brass along with Mike Matheny are impressed with his rapid improvement. Kelly will work with the Cardinals this winter to help improve his workout strategy. He's still one of the team's better prospects, but is likely several years away from helping in St. Louis.
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Expected to share time
CArizona Diamondbacks
February 13, 2019
Kelly is expected to split time with two other catchers in 2019, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports.
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Dealt to D-backs
CArizona Diamondbacks
December 5, 2018
Kelly was traded from the Cardinals to the Diamondbacks along with Luke Weaver, Andrew Young and a draft pick in exchange for Paul Goldschmidt.
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Drives in run vs. Tigers
CSt. Louis Cardinals
September 9, 2018
Kelly went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Sunday's 5-2 victory over Detroit.
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Called up by Cardinals
CSt. Louis Cardinals
September 1, 2018
Kelly was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday.
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Optioned to Triple-A
CSt. Louis Cardinals
June 4, 2018
Kelly was sent down to Triple-A Memphis on Monday, Rob Rains of reports.
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