Shawn Kelley
Shawn Kelley
34-Year-Old PitcherRP
Texas Rangers
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Kelley rebounded from a terrible 2017 season to post a 2.94 ERA in 49 innings for Washington and Oakland. His peripherals suggest he overachieved somewhat, as he benefited from a .215 BABIP and an 82.4% strand rate, but even an ERA in line with his 3.71 FIP would have made him a competent middle reliever. He didn't record a single save for the first time in three seasons, and his time as a truly dominant reliever appears to be behind him, but he remained a capable late-inning option, striking out 26.3% of batters while walking just 5.8%. An elbow injury cost him two weeks early in the season and an apparent attitude issue led to him being DFA'd and shipped to Oakland for pennies in early August, but his track record is strong enough that he should find a role in a bullpen somewhere this season. He'll give his team good innings but is unlikely to have much fantasy value unless given unexpected save chances. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Rangers in January of 2019. The contract includes a $2.5 million team option ($500,000 buyout) for 2020.
Joins Texas bullpen
PTexas Rangers
January 28, 2019
Kelley signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Rangers on Monday, Jeff Passan of reports.
The deal includes a club option for 2020, per Passan. Kelley split time between Washington and Oakland in 2018, posting a combined 2.94 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 50:11 K:BB across 49 innings of relief. The veteran reliever should slide into the back end of Texas' bullpen, though his fantasy value remains limited with no clear path to saves.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .216 206 61 21 40 11 2 9
Since 2016vs Right .203 329 94 12 63 16 1 19
2018vs Left .220 67 22 8 13 6 0 0
2018vs Right .171 123 28 3 20 7 0 7
2017vs Left .196 53 13 7 9 1 0 4
2017vs Right .317 68 12 4 20 2 0 8
2016vs Left .225 86 26 6 18 4 2 5
2016vs Right .176 138 54 5 23 7 1 4
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Since 2016Home 4.54 1.05 73.1 7 2 2 9.9 2.5 2.0
Since 2016Away 2.56 0.99 59.2 1 2 9 11.2 2.0 1.8
2018Home 4.28 1.10 27.1 2 0 0 8.6 2.3 1.3
2018Away 1.25 0.65 21.2 0 0 0 10.0 1.7 1.2
2017Home 9.24 1.74 12.2 3 2 0 7.8 4.3 4.3
2017Away 5.40 1.35 13.1 0 0 4 9.5 3.4 4.1
2016Home 2.97 0.75 33.1 2 0 2 11.9 1.9 1.6
2016Away 2.19 1.09 24.2 1 2 5 13.1 1.5 1.1
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Stat Review
How does Shawn Kelley compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
91.2 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Kelley endured a disastrous 2017 season, putting up a 7.27 ERA in 26 innings in a season derailed by three trips to the disabled list. His 8.62 FIP suggests his ERA could have been even worse, as he benefited from a lucky .236 BABIP, and his -1.2 fWAR ranked last among all pitchers. It was a tremendously disappointing season for a player many expected would be the Nationals' closer last season. The poor performance can likely be attributed in large part to the injuries -- he had a 2.64 ERA and 35.7 percent strikeout rate in 2016 -- but Kelley is now 33 years old and he has a long history of health issues. Kelley has little appeal in shallower leagues, but in deeper leagues, he could be worth a late-round gamble, as he could work his way near the top of the closer depth chart if his performance rebounds.
The 32-year-old right-hander is coming off the best season of his career in 2016, as he posted a career-best 12.4 K/9 and even saw a handful of save chances prior to the Nationals acquisition of Mark Melancon. Kelley didn't lean on his killer slider quite as hard last season, using it just 43.7 percent of the time (his lowest mark since 2011), but throwing more 92 mph fastballs resulted in a spike in his HR/9 rate, so that might not be a trend that continues into 2017. With Melancon signing with the Giants this offseason, Kelley could head into the season with the closer job, but the club's World Series aspirations will probably push them to strengthen the back end of their bullpen, either before Opening Day or at the trade deadline. Even if he eventually returns to a setup role though, Kelley's plus strikeout rate and high-leverage usage should still provide value to owners in deeper formats.
Kelley was dealt to the Padres last offseason and got off to a rocky start, allowing six earned runs over his first 5.1 innings before landing on the disabled list with a calf injury. He settled down after being activated from the disabled list and became a reliable arm out of the bullpen the rest of the way including a stretch in which he allowed just 19 baserunners across 19.1 innings in the second half and notched a 0.93 ERA in that span. For the season, his peripherals were once again excellent (11.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9), and his biggest skill gains were the improved walk rate and a career-high 42.7% groundball rate. Signed by the Nationals as a free agent in December, Kelley will take on a late-inning role in Washington, though it remains to be seen if he will ever be given a full-time opportunity to close out games despite having three consecutive seasons with a strikeout rate of at least 30.0%.
Kelley's peripherals suggest that he was the victim of poor luck last season, as his xFIP (3.10) was nearly a run-and-a-half below his 4.53 ERA. For the second straight season, Kelley struck out at least 30.0% of the batters that he faced, but the aforementioned bad luck came in the form of a 67.8% LOB% (career 75.2%). Kelley operates with a fastball-slider combo, while he used the latter offering a career-high 57.7% clip last season, which may lead to some wear and tear on his elbow if the increased usage pattern continues. Traded to the Padres in December, Kelley should benefit from the pitcher-friendly confines of his new home park while working in a late-inning role for San Diego.
Kelley was a strikeout machine out of the Yankees' bullpen in 2013, punching out 71 in just 53.1 innings. Kelley's power stuff can go a long way in the opposite direction when batters make contact, as the eight homers he gave up bloated his ERA to 4.39. Manager Joe Girardi relied on Kelley to get big strikeouts when he needed them, but Kelley doesn't seem likely to pitch his way into a consistent late-inning role.
Despite a 1.98 spring ERA, Kelley somewhat surprisingly didn't make the team out of camp last year. The reason stemmed from having a glut of right-handed middle relievers and it being his first full season following Tommy John surgery. As a result, Kelley found himself bouncing between Tacoma and Seattle. While in Seattle, though, he turned in quality bullpen work, posting a 9.1 K/9 in 47 appearances. His arm held up fine, and he heads into 2013 likely with increased bullpen work ahead. The Mariners are stocked with hard-throwing, late-inning right-handers, which could make Kelley expendable, but more likely he ends up in middle relief with his low-to-mid-90s fastball and outstanding slider that is equally effective against righties and lefties.
Kelley made his way back to Seattle in September last year after undergoing partial Tommy John surgery in late 2010. He fared well in his limited work, setting him up for a late-inning bullpen job this season. The right-handed Kelley features a mid-90s fastball and an outstanding slider and is equally as tough on righties as he is on lefties. A healthy and productive spring will go a long way in cementing him as a set-up man for Brandon League.
Kelley's a late-inning, right-handed reliever whose equally as tough on lefties as he is on righties. His season last year was cut short because of an elbow injury that eventually required surgery. In his first 17 appearances, he allowed five earned runs with 22 strikeouts and seven walks in 20 innings. Then the elbow acted up, and he allowed six earned runs with a 4:5 K:BB in his last five outings. Kelley, who features a mid-90s fastball and an outstanding slider, hopes to be ready for spring training, though that remains to be seen. If healthy, he'll likely slot into a setup role again.
Kelley dazzled in spring training last year and not only earned a bullpen spot but garnered closer-of-the-future accolades as well. After allowing two earned runs in his first 11 appearances, he was sidelined most of May and June by an oblique injury. He returned in July, and after some initial struggles regained his stride by mid-summer, allowing just four walks in his last 23 appearances (27.1 IP) and stranding nine of 11 inherited runners. He has a mid-90s fastball and a slider that last year was rated by Baseball America as the best in Seattle's minor-league system. Kelley will return to a late-inning role, and if David Aardsma falters, could take over the ninth inning.
More Fantasy News
Dealing with finger laceration
POakland Athletics
September 4, 2018
Kelley has been unavailable the last few games due to a finger laceration, Jane Lee of reports.
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Dealt to Oakland
POakland Athletics
August 5, 2018
Kelley was traded from the Nationals to the Athletics on Sunday in exchange for international bonus slot money, Jerry Crasnick of reports.
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Dropped from 40-man roster
PWashington Nationals
August 1, 2018
The Nationals designated Kelley for assignment Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports.
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Providing solid innings
PWashington Nationals
July 9, 2018
Kelley has a 1.76 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 14:2 K:BB in 15.1 innings since the beginning of June.
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Back from DL on Monday
PWashington Nationals
May 7, 2018
Kelley (elbow) was activated from the 10-day disabled list Monday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports.
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