It's time once more for America's least favorite gameshow, Know Your St. Louis Cardinals Call-Up. This week's contestant is replacing Jaime Garcia, who'll miss more than a month with a shoulder impingement, in the Cardinals' snakebitten rotation. Ladies and gentlement, please welcome Joe Kelly!
Joe Kelly was a third-round pick in 2009 who spent his college years as a closer at UC-Riverside. The Cardinals converted him into a starter, and since then he's made his way consistently up the farm system while sticking in the rotation. 2012 was the 24-year-old's first trip to AAA Memphis; he carried an ERA of 2.86 through 12 starts there before getting the call for Sunday's start.
Kelly is a sinkerballer whose groundball rate is going to determine whether he's able to stick as a Major League starter, but he'll also need to ensure a certain competence with his strikeouts and walks; in Memphis he's struck out just 45 batters in 72 innings, and in earlier stops his control was middling at best.
Kelly's spot in the rotation is likely to evaporate whenever Chris Carpenter can return, but nobody knows yet when that'll be. In the meantime a month of solid starts will save him a spot in the 2013 rotation, when Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook are both likely to leave via free agency.
More Know Your St. Louis Cardinals Call-Up call-ups:Maikel Cleto, hard-throwing reliever; Sam Freeman, left-handed human; Matt Adams, enormous slugging first baseman.