A starting pitching leaderboard that doesn’t feature Roy Halladay

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Because of a J.J. Putz blown save, Arizona’s Ian Kennedy was denied a win last night despite holding the Giants to just an unearned run over eight innings. I noticed afterwards that it was the fifth time already this season that Kennedy has pitched at least eight innings and allowed one or no runs. As it turns out, that’s tied for the major league lead.

Here’s the pitchers with the most starts fitting those two qualifications (8 or more IP, 0 or 1 runs allowed):

5 – Cole Hamels, Kennedy, Kyle Lohse, James Shields
4 – Jaime Garcia, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver
3 – Bartolo Colon, Yovani Gallardo, Carl Pavano, Anibal Sanchez, Carlos Zambrano

And still no Roy Halladay. He’s had just two, those coming back-to-back against the Padres and Mets at the end of April. He’s had three starts in which he’s pitched at least eight innings and allowed two runs and two more in which he’s come out after seven scoreless innings.

Josh Beckett, the major league leader in ERA, has also had two. He’s lasted eight innings in only three of his 14 starts.

Jair Jurrjens, the NL ERA leader, has had one.

Kennedy has quietly been outstanding for the Diamondbacks this season. In all, he’s allowed one run or fewer eight times in 14 starts. Still, he hasn’t gotten a lot of hype. Giving up nine runs to the Cardinals in his third start of the year has left him with an inflated ERA that he only finally managed to bring under 3.00 with last night’s performance. However, he’ll deserve All-Star consideration if he keeps this up.

Casey Kelly signs with the LG Twins in Korea

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We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.

It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.

He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four.  He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.

He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.

Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.

Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.

This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.