|CASEY KELLY MAKES 1ST AA START (PHOTO JEFF SCHOOLS/CMSB MEDIA)|
Kelly, rated as the Red Sox' number two prospect overall and the top pitching prospect in the organization by Baseball America. The 20-year-old is slated to make his Eastern League debut on Monday night at New Britain Stadium against the Rock Cats. Fans will be treated to a duo of top pitching prospects as Guerra is scheduled to make his first start of the season for the Rock Cats. Guerra, who was acquired as part of the trade that sent Johan Santana to the New York Mets, is listed as the #22 prospect in the Minnesota Twins' system.
Kelly, the 6-3, 195-lb. right-hander, was originally selected by the Red Sox in the first round (30th overall) of the 2008 draft as an 18-year-old out of Sarasota High School (Sarasota, FL); he had signed a letter of intent to play quarterback with the University of Tennessee but opted to focus on baseball. Boston gave Kelly the opportunity to both play shortstop and pitch throughout his first full professional season.
Kelly, the son of former Major League catcher Pat Kelly, struggled at the plate in his first season, batting a combined .219 with four home runs and 29 RBI between the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, Lowell Spinners (NYP), and Greenville Drive (SAL). His hitting woes continued into the Arizona Fall League. Meanwhile, he excelled on the mound, posting a 7-5 record with a 2.08 ERA and 74 K/16 BB ratio in 17 starts between Salem (CAR) and Greenville (SAL). He also appeared in the MLB Futures Game last season.
Following the season, he had to make a choice of whether to continue his development solely as a pitcher or shortstop. With three above-average pitches -including a fastball, curveball, and changeup - he opted to focus on pitching.
The Sea Dogs will remain in town through Wednesday, when the teams will face off in a mid-day clash with a 12:05 P.M. start to wrap up the three-game set. Tickets remain for Monday night's pitching match-up as well as Tuesday night (6:35 PM) and Wednesday (12:05). Fans may purchase tickets by calling the Rock Cats Box Office at (860) 224-8383 or online at www.rockcats.com.
COURTESY NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS