Keone Kela
Keone Kela
26-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
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $3.18 million contract with the Pirates in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Sees improved results Sunday
PPittsburgh Pirates
April 21, 2019
Kela struck out one in a perfect seventh inning against San Francisco on Sunday.
After struggling as Felipe Vazquez's primary setup man for the first three weeks, the right-hander pitched with his team trailing Sunday. Kyle Crick and Nick Burdi will likely cover for Kela in high-leverage situations while the hard-throwing righty works out of his early-season funk. Kela's scoreless inning lowered his ERA to 7.04 and his WHIP to 1.43.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .240 164 47 18 35 10 1 6
Since 2017vs Right .139 233 79 21 29 4 0 6
2019vs Left .364 13 1 2 4 2 0 1
2019vs Right .200 21 8 1 4 1 0 2
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
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 2.37 0.89 49.1 3 3 10 11.1 3.1 0.9
Since 2017Away 4.41 1.20 49.0 5 2 16 11.9 4.0 1.3
2019Home 5.40 1.00 5.0 0 0 0 10.8 3.6 3.6
2019Away 10.13 2.25 2.2 1 0 0 10.1 3.4 3.4
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
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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.
95.8 mph
Strand %
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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
Grabs win despite blown save
PPittsburgh Pirates
April 16, 2019
Kela (1-0) was charged with the blown save Tuesday against the Tigers, allowing one run on two hits during the ninth inning. He ended up earning the win as the Pirates won in extra innings.
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Rough start continues
PPittsburgh Pirates
April 13, 2019
Kela surrendered one run -- a solo home run to Anthony Rendon -- in one inning Friday. He struck out one batter without issuing a walk.
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Serves up three homers
PPittsburgh Pirates
March 9, 2019
Kela allowed four runs on four hits while recording one strikeout over one inning during Saturday's spring game against the Twins.
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Makes Grapefruit League debut
PPittsburgh Pirates
March 2, 2019
Kela gave up one hit and struck out two batters in a scoreless inning Saturday.
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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.
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