Arizona Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly, 35, has moved into a tie for the National League lead in wins.
Kelly started the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on April 10, allowing three runs on seven hits (one home run) with two walks and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
After playing for SK (now SSG) in the KBO from 2015 to 2018, Kelly signed with Arizona in 2019 to fulfill his dream of making his Major League debut. Since then, he has become a mainstay in Arizona’s rotation and has become the poster child for the KBO’s reverse export program.
In 110 career major league games (650 innings), Kelly is 44-38 with a 3.84 ERA and is coming off his best season this year. With an 8-3 record and 2.92 ERA in 13 games (77 innings), he is tied for the National League lead in wins with Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers).스포츠토토
Kelly, who signed a two-year, $18 million contract extension with Arizona in April with a team option for 2025, has been sensational in his first year of the extension. In addition to being tied for the National League lead in wins, he ranks among the league’s top pitchers in key metrics, including fifth in ERA, seventh in innings pitched, and ninth in strikeouts (82).
[Photo] Merrill Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks. ⓒGettyimages (All rights reserved)
The key to Kelly’s improvement this season has been his velocity and variety of pitches. The percentage of sliders he threw last season has risen significantly to 5.2%, and his repertoire includes a four-seam (25.8%), changeup (23.4%), cutter (18.5%), curve (13.7%), and sinker (13.3%). Of these pitches, his changeup has proven to be the most effective, as his batted ball rate has dropped from 2-for-43 (45-for-185) last season to 1-for-9 (70-for-9) this season.
According to Fangraphs, a metric that calculates the value of a pitch’s location (where 100 is the average), Kelly ranks seventh in the majors with a location+ of 107. Despite not having a fastball average of 92.4 miles per hour (148.7 km/h), Kelly has been able to use a variety of pitches with good location to successfully hit major league hitters.
Fans will be eager to see if Kelly can make this his best season yet, as he is well worth his salary.