Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Don’t Let the Numbers Fool You, Joe Kelly Might Be Better Than Ever

Mariachi Joe Kelly is back in Dodger blue after a season and a half away. His last appearance for LA came as an opener against the Braves in the 2021 NLCS where an injury forced him from the game after 24 pitches. He signed a two year deal with the Chicago White Sox that offseason and has spent the last two seasons somehow getting better and worse at the same time.

The worse is obvious. The numbers aren’t exactly pretty. In 74 games with the White Sox, he posted a 5.59 ERA. He also increased his fastball velocity and raised his K/9 rate to a career-best 12.8.

As Dodger general manager Brandon Gomes told Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Kelly’s stuff has arguably gotten better since his last time in LA.

“The stuff has been arguably the best it’s ever been. His velocity is at the top if not the highest he’s ever had . He’s added the slider. His four-seamer is playing as well as it ever has. So we’re excited about Joe. Plus we know Joe and the compete.”

Via OC Register

The full package of Joe Kelly paints the picture of a pitcher that has faced a ton of bad luck. His 3.14 Fielding Independent Pitching ERA over the last two seasons adds to that picture.

Kelly fills the veteran leader role in the Dodgers bullpen going forward, a role that was supposed to be held by Daniel Hudson this season and has been filled by David Price in the past. Beyond bringing home a World Series championship with LA in 2020, Kelly has pitched in just about every role in his career. He’ll be available to spell de facto closer Evan Phillips in the 9th inning of games, or to shut down key batters anywhere between the 5th and 8th innings.

“I think that he’s a guy that, when they’re in a winning environment, they thrive,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And so I know Joe’s happy to be back in Los Angeles.”

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Clint Pasillas

Clint Pasillas has been writing, blogging, and podcasting about the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2008. Under Clint's leadership as the Lead Editor, Dodgers Nation has grown into one of the most read baseball sites in the world with millions of unique visitors per month. Find him online on Twitter/X or his YouTube channel!

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