Strong, well-developed for 20-years-old; thick lower half, strong base; enough physicality to handle the rigors of catching
Palm Beach Cardinals (High A, Cardinals)
30, organizational/role player, bench piece
Starts in a slight crouch with his hands slightly low, limiting his size; has trouble getting swing started, below-average bat speed, rotational swing, struggles with plate coverage, susceptible to outer half; at best when staying up the middle, giving him a chance to reach outer half.
Power is derived from size and strength rather than bat speed; can drive the ball when he gets his arms extended; over-the-fence power is limited to pull side, gap power to RCF.
Below-average runner, moves adequately under way; not a quick-twitch athlete.
Quiet setup, soft hands, has the potential to be a good receiver; moves well laterally; conversion project to the catching position but making quick progress; gets out from behind the plate well on bunt plays; good leadership behind the plate, takes control of pitchers.
Plus arm strength with quick release; 2.2 pop time to second base, can be improved upon with better footwork and more repetitions; enough arm strength to eventually display 2.0-2.1 times to 2B.
The Cardinals converted Kelly to a catcher a year ago and he's taking nicely to the position. He's a natural receiver, looks comfortable behind the plate and throws well. He won't require more time than usual to develop at the position and should be able to handle it at the major league level. He won't be an elite defender, but he'll be good enough defensively to handle a pitching staff on a daily basis.
At the plate, his bat lags behind his glove, and behind fastballs with any velocity. Below average bat speed really hinders Kelly as a hitter and leads to a lot of bad contact. His natural size and strength will lead to a little bit of power, but he'll be a mistake hitter at the higher levels.
The offensive bar is low for catchers, but Kelly projects to end up in more of a back-up role. His background playing the infield could lead to a utility/bench role with the versatility to play a few different positions, including catcher, making him a potentially valuable bench piece.