2017 Phillies Report Card: Ty Kelly
Ty Kelly was not the most heralded addition to the 2017 roster. In fact, we didn’t really trade for him; it was more that we bought him from Toronto for cash. I don’t know how much “cash considerations” generally is, but I think it’s an insignificant sum.
And Kelly is a relatively insignificant player in the landscape of the MLB. He entered the season a borderline Major Leaguer and played all of one plate appearance with the Mets. He was then designated for assignment and claimed by the Blue Jays where he accrued exactly zero plate appearances. Four days later he was on the Phillies, replacing the injured Aaron Nola.
So after spending eight years in the minors and a cup of coffee with the Mets last year, he was playing for the third team of the season on April 22. He had that quality, a certain Chris Coste ness you might say, that made him, along with Brock Stassi, easy to root for. Unfortunately, like Stassi, Kelly looked the part of a career minor leaguer. He posted a 53 wRC+ in 103 PAs and negative-0.2 fWAR.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story of Ty Kelly because between all the fungo-like pop flies, Kelly had a few huge moments for the Phillies. In fact, I stumbled across this July 30 Todd Zolecki tweet while writing this article:
Ty Kelly has a chance for his second walkoff hit in as many days. He has 13 hits this season, and five are go-ahead hits.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 30, 2017
This was the day after Kelly’s 11th inning walkoff single against the Braves. Of course, as Kelly, whose clutch score was tops on the 2017 Phillies, strode to the plate with Andrew Knapp on second, Akeel Morris wanted nothing to do with him and walked him on five pitches. Freddy Galvis later singled home Knapp with Kelly on second to win the game.
There’s also the May 23rd game against the Nationals where Kelly hit a go-ahead single in the top of the ninth. And who could forget about the June 15 bottom of the 8th double off Chris Sale to break the 0-0 tie in a Nick Pivetta gem. I certainly couldn’t; I was at that game.
Perhaps it wasn’t as dramatic, but Kelly also hit a grand slam to ice a game against the Giants in August.
So Kelly obviously is not a great player, but that’s fine. He was a bench bat on a bad team, but he gave us all more than his fair share of heroics. Long live Ty Kelly, King of Clutch!