– 1st Season
The sky’s the limit for a 30-year-old rookie coming off a four-year stint in Korea. Right? If it weren’t for the season Miles Mikolas has last season, expectations would be much lower for Kelly. As is, the Diamondbacks are taking a $5.5MM gamble that Kelly’s strong seasons overseas will translate in his return to the states.
If nothing else, Kelly should be an exciting watch in April and May as he sinks or swims. It’s not often we get to watch a 30-year-old local debut after years of pitching professionally overseas.
If he struggles, it will be interesting to see how long of a leash Lovullo gives him. The Dbacks have decent rotation depth, but most of those pieces they’d prefer to wait on, for one reason or another, until closer to the second half.
Taijuan Walker will want a spot in the rotation when he returns, if he returns this season. Top pitching prospects Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener will start the year in Triple A. Lesser prospects like Taylor Clarke and Yoan Lopez have either deputed already, in the latter’s case, or pitched a full year in Triple A, as in the former.
Point being, the Arizona Diamondbacks will feel pretty good if they can get through the first two months of the season using only Greinke, Ray, Godley, Weaver and Kelly in the rotation. By July much could change, not only because of health and performance, but because three’s no guarantee Greinke or even Ray and Godley will still be on the roster.