Keone Kela
Keone Kela
25-Year-Old PitcherRP
Pittsburgh Pirates
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Kela began the season as the Rangers' closer, recording 24 saves before being shipped to the Pirates on July 30. With the Bucs, Kela transitioned to a setup role where he'll likely stay so long as Felipe Vazquez remains in Pittsburgh. Coming off a couple of injury-riddled seasons where he averaged just 36.1 innings a year, Kela was shut down in early September, with 51 solid frames under his belt. For the season, he shaved a couple percentage points of his walk rate without sacrificing much dominance. Kela relies primarily on a four-seamer he rushes to the plate at 97 mph along with a curve as his secondary offering. Lefties had better numbers than usual against Kela, but most of that was a result of a small-sample .377 BABIP. With a strikeout rate north of 30%, Kela is in play in all formats and is especially appealing in leagues scoring holds, as he should be among the league leaders. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $3.18 million contract with the Pirates in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Comes to terms
PPittsburgh Pirates
January 11, 2019
Kela agreed to a one-year, $3.175 million deal with the Pirates, avoiding arbitration, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports.
While the Pirates gave up significant prospects to acquire Kela from the Rangers at the deadline, he would need Felipe Vazquez to either get hurt or traded to start getting saves on a regular basis. This is Kela's second year of arbitration, and he will go through the process again next offseason before hitting the open market in 2021.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .217 198 58 21 38 10 1 6
Since 2016vs Right .174 315 104 32 48 7 1 9
2018vs Left .268 91 27 9 22 6 1 2
2018vs Right .147 121 39 10 16 3 0 3
2017vs Left .170 60 19 7 9 2 0 3
2017vs Right .113 91 32 10 9 0 0 1
2016vs Left .175 47 12 5 7 2 0 1
2016vs Right .264 103 33 12 23 4 1 5
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 2.66 1.03 64.1 5 3 10 11.3 3.5 0.8
Since 2016Away 5.22 1.21 60.1 7 3 16 12.1 4.2 1.3
2018Home 2.10 0.97 25.2 1 3 10 12.3 3.2 0.4
2018Away 4.44 1.22 26.1 2 1 14 10.6 3.4 1.4
2017Home 1.93 0.75 18.2 2 0 0 9.6 2.9 1.0
2017Away 3.60 1.05 20.0 2 1 2 14.0 5.0 0.9
2016Home 4.05 1.35 20.0 2 0 0 11.7 4.5 1.4
2016Away 9.00 1.43 14.0 3 1 0 12.2 4.5 1.9
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Stat Review
How does Keone Kela 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.
96.8 mph
Strand %
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Keone Kela
MLB Barometer: Undervalued Pitchers
5 days ago
Derek VanRiper looks for undervalued pitchers by comparing multiple sets of projections to NFBC ADP data.
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100 days ago
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The Long Game: Tomorrow's Closers... Today!
188 days ago
Erik Siegrist looks for potential 2019 save sources in all 30 big-league bullpens, including a peek at what might happen in Boston if Craig Kimbrel leaves as a free agent.
Mound Musings: My 2018 'Home' League Pitching Staff Revisited
193 days ago
Brad Johnson delves into the details of his 28th Home League pitching staff, featuring Noah Syndergaard as his No. 1 starter.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Kela was admonished to the minor leagues to begin the year in what was said to be a move to preserve team chemistry, but he was called up a couple weeks into the season and outperformed everyone not named Alex Claudio in the Rangers' bullpen the rest of the way. Using a fastball that averaged over 96 mph and a wipeout, 12-6 curveball, Kela struck batters out at a 33.8 percent clip, and he was able to limit the free passes better than he did in 2016 (4.0 BB/9). The right-hander was dominant against same-handed hitters, holding opposing righty batters to .113/.220/.150 line, and he was no slouch against lefties (.170/.267/.377). His overpowering stuff would seem to make Kela a favorite for the closer role, as has long been speculated, although his flyball tendencies ding him a bit in that regard. If he doesn't get the job out of camp, Kela should be the next man up.
Kela missed about three months of action after he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow in April. He struggled to regain his 2015 form, during which he flashed closer abilities. If he can split the difference in his walk rate over the last two years, it'll work well with his already excellent strikeout ability (10.8 career K/9). Texas is loaded with closer candidates, though Sam Dyson and Jeremy Jeffress, the top two on the totem pole, have sizeable holes in their game. Kela, who turns 24 in April, deserves to be among the first names fantasy owners in deep leagues consider when they're looking for a reliever who can help in the strikeout column. He could wind up as one of the better reliever end-game investments in AL-only leagues, as many may forget about his lethal arm and skills. An eye-opening spring training performance could restart the hype train.
Kela made the jump from Double-A Frisco directly to the majors on the strength of a strong spring training and promptly rewarded the organization's faith in him with a solid rookie season that included seven wins, 22 holds and 68 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. He battled arm fatigue at times, and was briefly sent to the minors to get additional rest, in addition to complaining of elbow soreness toward the end of the season. During the offseason, there was no indication that Kela was going to face any restrictions. He's had control issues throughout his minor-league career, but Kela walked just 18 batters in 60.1 innings with Texas. He projects as an effective late-inning arm for 2016, and Kela is on the short list to ascend to the closer's role if injuries befall Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson.
More Fantasy News
Shut down for workload reasons
PPittsburgh Pirates
Coach's Decision
September 15, 2018
Kela will be shut down for the season for workload reasons, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports.
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Getting rest in September
PPittsburgh Pirates
September 12, 2018
At a minimum, Kela is expected to have a reduced workload during the remainder of the season and could be shut down, The Athletic Pittsburgh reports.
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Pitches setup role against Cards
PPittsburgh Pirates
August 4, 2018
Kela allowed two hits and no walks while striking out one batter in a scoreless seventh inning Friday.
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Won't close often
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 31, 2018
Kela is expected to serve primarily as a setup man with an opportunity for the occasional save, general manager Neal Huntington told AT&T SportsNet on Tuesday.
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Dealt to Pittsburgh
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 30, 2018
Kela was traded from the Rangers to the Pirates on Monday in exchange for pitching prospect Taylor Hearn and a player to be named later, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports.
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