So Shawn Kelley got the 'start' today against an embarrassingly accurate version of Kansas City's regular lineup. It wasn't a start in the way that Jason Vargas' game yesterday was a start - the M's are split-squad today and just in need of some arms with so many on the sidelines - but it was still a clear opportunity to get Kelley a little stretched out.
Result? Kelley threw 48 pitches, doubling his previous spring high and besting last year's top mark by five. The 48 pitches got him through 2.2 innings, and here's how his velocity held up:
1st inning: 90.9mph average fastball (n=14)
2nd inning: 90.3mph (n=7)
3rd inning: 90.1mph (n=8)
You'll recall that Kelley was throwing 92-94 a year ago. I don't know if his velocity is down because he's stretching out, or because of a PITCHfx calibration issue, or both, or neither. But anyway, for his first long outing, the consistency is pretty good, and his last heater came in at 91.2.
You might've noticed that 14, 7, and 8 add up to 29, while Kelley threw 48 total pitches. The other 19, rather obviously, were offspeed, with nine sliders and ten changeups. We know Kelley's slider is good, so how was the change?
- 83.0mph average
- 9/10 strikes
- Three swinging strikes
- Thrown in any count, ahead or behind
Well that looks pretty solid. I know it's spring and pitchers are trying to work on things more than anything else, but still, Kelley threw a first-pitch change to Chris Getz, a 2-0 change to Alberto Callaspo, and a 1-0 change to Scott Thorman. I liked that Thorman at bat - Kelley missed with a fastball outside, but came back with two consecutive changeups just off the plate outside for swinging strikes before busting Thorman with heat up and in for the strikeout.
Kelley has thrown 16 changeups in his last three appearances, only two of them for balls. He's missed some bats and done an excellent job of commanding it and keeping it down. Forget any concerns you might've had about Shawn Kelley needing to develop a third pitch - he already had one, and now he's using it effectively.
Shawn Kelley is so cool.