2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Player Reviews: Joe Kelly

Fan favorite Joe Kelly was reunited with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a trade that also included Lance Lynn.

Kelly entered the 2023 season in the final year of his contract with the White Sox. After a pair of injuries to his groin and elbow, his production took a hit in the form of a 4.97 ERA, 1.31 WHIP with a .313 opponents’ on-base percentage in 29 innings pitched over 31 appearances.

However, Kelly’s stuff took a major jump once he was back with the Dodgers. Kelly carried a 1.74 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 16.55 strikeout per nine in 10.1 innings pitched.

In 42 appearances between the White Sox and Dodgers, Kelly posted a combined 4.12 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 2.72 FIP. His high strikeout rate allowed him to become a key piece out of the Dodgers bullpen, being utilized in numerous high leverage situations.

His stuff ranked among the best in baseball, slotting in the 98th percentile in fastball velocity, with a 35.7% strikeout rate.

The Dodgers declined Kelly’s $9.5 million team option, opting to pay him a $1 million buyout for the 2024 season. That seemingly was just a procedural move as the Dodgers proceed to re-sign Kelly to a one-year, $8 million contract.

Joe Kelly 2023 highlight

Kelly’s best outing in the second half of the season came against the San Diego Padres on August 7 when he struck out the side, which included getting Fernando Tatis Jr. to chase on a knuckle curve to end the inning.

2024 outlook

The Dodgers made an investment in Kelly at the trade deadline and succeeded in unlocking a lot of what made him so effective in his first stint with the team.

Now Kelly is looking to keep that momentum going as a high-leverage option for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, albeit with a new jersey number.

Shortly following the signing of Shohei Ohtani, Kelly and his wife had a fun time in giving up his No. 17 jersey to the two-way superstar. Ohtani gifted Kelly’s wife, Ashley, a new Porsche, which was delivered to their home.

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