Everyone knows Joe Kelly can light up the radar gun, but he has reached a new level in 2017.
The Boston Red Sox reliever has unleashed his high-powered fastball this season, and it has placed him in the same sentence with New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and St. Louis Cardinals fireballer Trevor Rosenthal.
Kelly has thrown 51 pitches that have registered at 100 mph or higher this season, which is the third-most in Major League Baseball, according to ESPN’s Scott Lauber. Kelly trails Rosenthal (63) and Chapman (57), but he does have them beat in another category.
While Kelly’s average fastball velocity (98.8 mph) ranks a touch below Rosenthal and Chapman (both 99.2), Boston’s hard-throwing reliever has hurled the single fastest pitch during the 2017 campaign.
That pitch came when Kelly tossed a blistering 102.2-mph fastball to Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on April 28.
Now that’s some serious heat.
Kelly has been a different pitcher since the Red Sox moved him to the bullpen toward the end of the 2016 season. In 31 appearances since the change, Kelly has posted a 1.21 ERA with 37 strikeouts.
And with that much heat behind his fastball, it won’t be surprising to see Kelly continue to thrive in his new role.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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