The Red Sox have announced the signing of shortstop Casey Kelly, the 30th overall pick in the June draft. The 6-foot-3-inch, 195-pound Kelly is also a pitcher, and was ranked as the No. 31 quarterback prospect in 2008 by ESPN.com.
As a senior at Sarasota (Fla.) High School, Kelly hit .473 (44 for 93) with 13 doubles, 1 triple, 5e home runs, 31 RBIs, and 11 steals in 2008. The righthander pitched in 12 games, going 8-1 with two saves and a 1.16 ERA. He fanned 77 and walked just 12 over 66 innings.
“Casey [will] go out this year as a shortstop, and that’s how he’s going to be reporting to the Gulf Coast League, as a shortstop," Red Sox GM Theo Epstein said on a conference call today. "Pitching is something that we’re going to expose Casey to at the right time and the right place in the right environment. We’re going to collaborate and work together to sort of plot the best course for his development going forward, whether that’s as a shortstop, as a pitcher, perhaps as both.”
"It means a lot," Kelly said regarding the opportunity to play both shortstop and pitch in the Red Sox organization. "They think I can play either position and succeed at either one. For them to let me go out and play shortstop and then pitch also, it just shows me a lot about the organization and the class that they have and I'm excited to be a Red Sox."
When Kelly was asked if he preferred playing shortstop or pitching, he diplomatically replied, "Only time will tell."
MLB.com analysis on Kelly: "One of the better athletes in the class, whoever drafts Kelly will have to lure him from being a two-sport star at the University of Tennessee, where he is a quarterback recruit. Big and athletic, he has all the tools to play shortstop. The main question is whether he'll swing the bat well enough and that could determine his draft status as a hitter. As a pitcher, he's a bit raw, but has the makings of three outstanding pitches and could be more intriguing to scouts on the mound."
Take a look at some footage of Kelly playing:
Casey is the son of Pat Kelly, a former major league catcher who played for the Blue Jays in 1980. Pat Kelly also serves as the Reds' manager in the Gulf Coast League.
Kelly has been assigned to the rookie league Gulf Coast Red Sox. With the signing, Boston has 21 selections from the 2008 draft under contract. Kelly had signed a letter of intent to play baseball and football at the University of Tennessee.