clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

St. Louis Cardinals Will Count On Joe Kelly For Bullpen Help After Jaime Garcia's Return

The St. Louis Cardinals liked what they saw from Jaime Garcia in his four rehab starts following a long layoff caused by shoulder discomfort, but Joe Kelly's 12 impressive turns in their rotation might have earned the bespectacled rookie a permanent role on the club after all—as designated bullpen savior.

Kelly, a college closer, will move into the bullpen immediately upon Jaime Garcia's return to the rotation on Sunday. At that point the Cardinals will have thrown their fourth hard-throwing right-handed prospect into their back-of-the-bullpen black hole; here's hoping he's more successful than Eduardo Sanchez and Maikel Cleto and steadier than Trevor Rosenthal, whom he's likely to push back to AAA Memphis for a few more starts.

Kelly's repertoire is stereotypical Duncan-ball starter stuff—a sinker and a bunch of junky breaking pitches—but few were counting on his fastball to stick so doggedly to the mid-90s label every other prospect gets now. In the bullpen, that stuff might suddenly prove up to getting the swings and misses that have kept him from being a top prospect as a starter.

Count on this, though: Whatever he does, we're about to have a long argument in the offseason about whether he belongs in the rotation or the bullpen. Just in case you were missing that particular Lance Lynn argument.