For those of you who followed me at all at Detroitbaseballpage.com, you may know from several of the postings I’ve had in the past on that site, I am not the biggest fan of Don Kelly. Jim Leyland and myself have never seen eye to eye on Kelly’s abilities, and though he doesn’t know who I am, I have always wondered if Leyland plays Kelly as much as he does just to irk me.
I am not under any illusion that many people reading this out there know my thoughts on Don Kelly. Suffice it to say, I think he is a bad baseball player. While I concede that the 2011 version of Kelly is more tolerable than he has been in the past, him being an asset is still a bridge I have yet to cross.
That being said, dude has been hitting the weight room or something lately.
Watch out Miguel Cabrera…….Don Kelly is coming for you.
On Sunday, Don Kelly hit a 3 run home run to give him 7 on the season. While that isn’t any outstanding number, and it is actually less than he had a year ago, it is the 3rd time Kelly has homered in his last 10 games. For a guy with 16 career homers, that is a nice stretch. Kelly is 9-31 in the 10 game stretch, and has 9 RBI to go along with his homers. I dare say (albeit without research) that might be the best stretch that Kelly has had with the bat for the Tigers.
If anything, this stretch by Kelly is indicative of why the Tigers are having such a good year. Guys that aren’t all that good are doing enough good things at the right time to win games. These are the things that give us fans confidence heading into the playoffs. I never thought anything Kelly has done would give me confidence heading into the playoffs.
Now, I know that Don Kelly isn’t on the Tigers roster because of his bat. Anything that he adds in the batters box is gravy in reality. He does provide a breather all over the diamond to the Tigers veterans that need a rest from time to time, and handles the multiple positions well defensively. Therefore, I have softened my stance on Kelly a little bit, though I still don’t want to see him in the playoffs in any capacity other than as a defensive replacement.
Kelly’s big problem is that he doesn’t get on base. For a guy that lacks in the slugging department, if he got on base, he could actually parlay that into a full-time job at some point. Over Kelly’s career, his OPS is a slender .642, though that is in large part due to his career .281 OBP. Kelly actually has his 16 career homers in 571 at-bats. That is pretty respectable, but there is a lack of power in general with a career slugging pct. of .361. He lacks doubles and triples.
Overall, I guess I am saying is that he just isn’t a productive offensive player. On this team right now, he doesn’t have to be though. He can just run into one occasionally, and we as fans are just going to have to chalk that up as a success. I know I do.
Looking ahead to 2012, I am going to have to start getting myself mentally prepared for another year of Kelly a little early. It might save myself some stress down the road in spring training 2012. After all, Jim Leyland is going to be the manager, and that means that Don Kelly will be on this team. That prospect is about as inviting to me as being forced to eat broccoli as a kid, but just like broccoli, I am going to have to get used to it.