The Padres newly acquired prospect in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, Casey Kelly is being put on what seems to be a"loose limit" pitch count for the 2011 season. Kelly, 21, is 10-10 after converting to pitcher midway through the 2009 season and has posted a 3.69 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in that time. Last season, he posted a 5.31 ERA in Double-A, but Kelly considered the year a learning year and most believe a lot of progress was made.
"Last year, I was throwing harder than ever before, but I had trouble with my command," Kelly said. "I want to be consistent more with my command, working on getting strike one."
Kelly will likely begin the season with Double-A San Antonio, but if he can improve on last years totals he will certainly see time in Triple-A and maybe even the majors if he doesn't rack up the innings too soon.
Padres GM Jed Hoyer is no amateur when it comes to handling top pitching prospects. Before joining the Padres he was a member of the Red Sox front office and watched prospects such as Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester emerge as frontline pitchers.
One way or another, this is a big year for Casey Kelly and the Padres.