I am an unabashed Don Kelly fan. I’ll be clear. My agenda here is to highlight good things about Kelly and really just have some fun with small samples and arbitrary endpoints. One should not read this post as something other than a lighthearted love letter to the Tigers utility man.
He is not a great baseball player, but he is a very useful player to have on a major league team because of his versatility and decent all-around game. I’m a fan because I like utility players and I like players who are super-polite and just really enjoy playing baseball. For example, this Onion satire is based largely on me:
I am also, to my knowledge the only person on Earth who owns this article of clothing:
I’m weird, okay, let’s move past it. Let’s talk about Don Kelly’s 2013 season! Everything here is 100% true. Especially the last one.
1. Don Kelly currently has a .340 OBP, the best of his career. It is better than league average. It is also better than Albert Pujols’.
2. Don Kelly is currently walking more than he is striking out 13.2% to 12.3%. Only 7 players with 100 PA are doing that this year. Here they are:
|Munenori Kawasaki||Blue Jays||183||13.10%||12.60%|
|Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox||345||12.20%||11.90%|
3. Only 5 players have a higher wRC+ in June than Don Kelly (min 10 PA), if I gave you 100 guesses and no internet access, you wouldn’t guess more than one. Here they are:
4. Don Kelly is hitting 102 wRC+ on the season. That’s better than league average.
5. With runners in scoring position (RISP) this season, Don Kelly is 3rd in batting average (min 20 PA). Only Miguel Cabrera and Allen Craig are better.
6. With RISP this year Don Kelly has a .561 OBP. Only Miguel Cabrera is better. In baseball, not just on the Tigers.
7. He’s also 7th in SLG with RISP.
8. By wRC+, the best all around offensive rate stat, Don Kelly is the 2nd best hitter with RISP this season (min 20 PA) with 264 wRC+. Only Miguel Cabrear is better. Again, in baseball, not just the Tigers.
9. Don Kelly is having a good all-around season, but has decided to be superhuman with men in scoring position:
|Men on Base||0.244||0.340||0.390||0.327||104|
|Men In Scoring||0.444||0.565||0.778||0.561||264|
10. Don Kelly has been in five 3-0 counts this season. He has walked every time.
11. Kelly has come in to pinch run 3 times this season. He scored twice.
12. When the game is tied, Don Kelly hits .360/.407/.560.
13. At home, Kelly hits .282/.391/.513.
14. Don Kelly has only 3 HR this season, but they have come against pitchers who collectively allow 1 HR every 50.65 batters. League average is 1 HR every 37.86 batters. The pitchers are Samuel Deduno, Justin Masterson, and of course, Yu Darvish.
15. Don Kelly has played all 9 positions in his career. No other active player has done that. Inge just needs to pitch. I was at this game, after insisting to my mother that we shouldn’t leave.
16. This is a picture of Don Kelly and his wife, Carrie. She is Neil Walker’s sister. Those are her parents. She’s is both beautiful, and given what I know about Don, likely a very lovely woman.
17. Don Kelly once lifted Prince Fielder. He is the only person in recorded history to do so.