Keone Kela
Keone Kela
26-Year-Old PitcherRP
Pittsburgh Pirates
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Kela began the season as the Rangers' closer, recording 24 saves before being shipped to the Pirates on July 30. With the Bucs, Kela transitioned to a setup role where he'll likely stay so long as Felipe Vazquez remains in Pittsburgh. Coming off a couple of injury-riddled seasons where he averaged just 36.1 innings a year, Kela was shut down in early September, with 51 solid frames under his belt. For the season, he shaved a couple percentage points of his walk rate without sacrificing much dominance. Kela relies primarily on a four-seamer he rushes to the plate at 97 mph along with a curve as his secondary offering. Lefties had better numbers than usual against Kela, but most of that was a result of a small-sample .377 BABIP. With a strikeout rate north of 30%, Kela is in play in all formats and is especially appealing in leagues scoring holds, as he should be among the league leaders. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $3.18 million contract with the Pirates in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Returns from suspension
PPittsburgh Pirates
August 15, 2019
Kela pitched a scoreless inning against the Angels on Wednesday. He struck out one batter without allowing a hit or walk.
ANALYSIS
He faced the minimum three batters, throwing eight of 12 pitches for strikes. After making his first appearance following a 10-game suspension, it was somewhat surprising that he threw only one inning, given the team's exhausted bullpen. Regardless, he looked good and could move into high-leverage situations again quickly, more important spots than the sixth inning he logged.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-39%
BAA vs RHP
2019
 
 
-25%
BAA vs RHP
2018
 
 
-45%
BAA vs RHP
2017
 
 
-34%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .229 177 51 20 36 11 1 6
Since 2017vs Right .140 262 87 22 33 6 0 6
2019vs Left .227 26 5 4 5 3 0 1
2019vs Right .170 50 16 2 8 3 0 2
2018vs Left .268 91 27 9 22 6 1 2
2018vs Right .147 121 39 10 16 3 0 3
2017vs Left .170 60 19 7 9 2 0 3
2017vs Right .113 91 32 10 9 0 0 1
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-45%
ERA at Home
2019
 
 
-13%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-53%
ERA at Home
2017
 
 
-46%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 2.15 0.90 54.1 4 3 10 10.9 3.1 0.8
Since 2017Away 3.93 1.13 55.0 5 2 16 11.8 3.8 1.1
2019Home 2.70 1.00 10.0 1 0 0 9.9 3.6 1.8
2019Away 3.12 1.04 8.2 1 0 0 10.4 2.1 1.0
2018Home 2.10 0.97 25.2 1 3 10 12.3 3.2 0.4
2018Away 4.44 1.22 26.1 2 1 14 10.6 3.4 1.4
2017Home 1.93 0.75 18.2 2 0 0 9.6 2.9 1.0
2017Away 3.60 1.05 20.0 2 1 2 14.0 5.0 0.9
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Stat Review
How does Keone Kela 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.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 20 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
3.50
 
K/9
10.1
 
BB/9
2.9
 
HR/9
1.4
 
Fastball
95.8 mph
 
ERA
2.89
 
WHIP
1.02
 
BABIP
.240
 
GB/FB
0.70
 
Left On Base
87.8%
 
Exit Velocity
88.8 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
10.4%
 
Spin Rate
2269 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
29.2%
 
Swinging Strike
9.0%
 
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
Kela was admonished to the minor leagues to begin the year in what was said to be a move to preserve team chemistry, but he was called up a couple weeks into the season and outperformed everyone not named Alex Claudio in the Rangers' bullpen the rest of the way. Using a fastball that averaged over 96 mph and a wipeout, 12-6 curveball, Kela struck batters out at a 33.8 percent clip, and he was able to limit the free passes better than he did in 2016 (4.0 BB/9). The right-hander was dominant against same-handed hitters, holding opposing righty batters to .113/.220/.150 line, and he was no slouch against lefties (.170/.267/.377). His overpowering stuff would seem to make Kela a favorite for the closer role, as has long been speculated, although his flyball tendencies ding him a bit in that regard. If he doesn't get the job out of camp, Kela should be the next man up.
Kela missed about three months of action after he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow in April. He struggled to regain his 2015 form, during which he flashed closer abilities. If he can split the difference in his walk rate over the last two years, it'll work well with his already excellent strikeout ability (10.8 career K/9). Texas is loaded with closer candidates, though Sam Dyson and Jeremy Jeffress, the top two on the totem pole, have sizeable holes in their game. Kela, who turns 24 in April, deserves to be among the first names fantasy owners in deep leagues consider when they're looking for a reliever who can help in the strikeout column. He could wind up as one of the better reliever end-game investments in AL-only leagues, as many may forget about his lethal arm and skills. An eye-opening spring training performance could restart the hype train.
Kela made the jump from Double-A Frisco directly to the majors on the strength of a strong spring training and promptly rewarded the organization's faith in him with a solid rookie season that included seven wins, 22 holds and 68 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. He battled arm fatigue at times, and was briefly sent to the minors to get additional rest, in addition to complaining of elbow soreness toward the end of the season. During the offseason, there was no indication that Kela was going to face any restrictions. He's had control issues throughout his minor-league career, but Kela walked just 18 batters in 60.1 innings with Texas. He projects as an effective late-inning arm for 2016, and Kela is on the short list to ascend to the closer's role if injuries befall Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson.
More Fantasy News
Back from suspension
PPittsburgh Pirates
August 14, 2019
Kela (suspension) is available to pitch Wednesday against the Angels, Nubyjas Wilborn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
ANALYSIS
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Begins serving suspension
PPittsburgh Pirates
Suspension
August 3, 2019
Kela will begin serving his 10-game suspension Saturday, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Suspended 10 games
PPittsburgh Pirates
August 1, 2019
Kela was suspended 10 games for his role in Tuesday's bench-clearing incident with the Reds, Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports.
ANALYSIS
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Makes successful return
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 26, 2019
Kela pitched a scoreless inning Wednesday against the Cardinals, allowing one hit while striking out one batter.
ANALYSIS
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Reinstated Wednesday
PPittsburgh Pirates
July 24, 2019
Kela (suspension) was officially reinstated prior to Wednesday's game against the Cardinals, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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