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BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 415

CURRENT ADP: ~445 overall

ANALYSIS: It’s almost becoming a trend for players to travel overseas to play baseball after struggling to make it in the MLB, only to end up back in the Majors better than before. In 2017 it was Eric Thames and last year it was Miles Mikolas. You can now add Merrill Kelly to the list. The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Kelly to a two-year $5.5M contract in hopes of him bringing his success back from Korea into their rotation. Kelly spent the last four seasons in the KBO developing into one of the league's top pitchers. Even in an offensively-dominated league, the right-hander still found plenty of success and has evolved into a much different pitcher than the last time he was on an American diamond.

A former Tampa Bay Rays prospect, Kelly has yet to step foot on a field in the big leagues. The last time we saw him on this side of the Pacific was in Triple-A in 2014 for the Durham Bulls. From 2015-2018 Kelly seen improvement every year in Korea finishing up with a 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and a 7.9 K/9. Not jaw-dropping figures, but keep in mind the KBO is like playing in Yankee Stadium with the altitude of Coors Field.

Kelly has a current ADP of 535, so he’s virtually free at this price, and he doesn’t need to earn remarkably high numbers in his rookie season for you to get value out of him. It’s extremely low risk with a high reward. With his pitching repertoire, he’ll continue to keep hitters off-balance and generate soft contact and ground balls, a good recipe for success. Pair that with his current walk rate capability he should be able to limit any damage.


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