Carson Kelly

Carson Kelly

30-Year-Old CatcherC
Detroit Tigers
2024 Fantasy Outlook
After getting released by Arizona during the 2023 season, Kelly came over to Detroit and enjoyed limited offensive success in a reserve role. Across 19 games with the Tigers, the catcher batted just .173 with a .271 on-base percentage. Kelly has never been much of an offensive threat during his career with just a .221 batting average over eight MLB seasons. The 29-year-old has at least displayed some power in the past, as he recorded 13 home runs in 98 games for the Diamondbacks back in 2021. Kelly had a career-high 18 long balls for Arizona in 2019. However, heading into 2024, the veteran seems unlikely to play enough to make much of a fantasy impact. Jake Rogers is entrenched as the top backstop in Detroit, making it likely that Kelly sees a similar workload to last year, when he appeared in 52 games. It's possible that Kelly sees more playing time if Rogers gets hurt, but even in that case, the former may not be a great fantasy target if he's unable to produce at the plate. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
Rest of Season
From Preseason
#391
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $720,000 contract with the Tigers in August of 2023. Tigers exercised $3.5 million team option for 2024 in November of 2023.
Homers, reaches base three times
CDetroit Tigers
July 11, 2024
Kelly went 1-for-3 with two walks, a solo home run and an additional run scored Thursday against the Guardians.
ANALYSIS
Kelly, starting for just the second time in five days as he continues to work in a timeshare with Jake Rogers, extended his modest hitting streak to six games while reaching base three times and homering for the third time during that stretch. It was the seventh home run of the season for Kelly, who has also added 28 RBI while producing a useful slash line of .247/.326/.418 through 178 plate appearances.
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Batting Stats
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2024
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2024 MLB Game Log
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2023 MLB Game Log
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2022 MLB Game Log
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2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
3
3
2
6
27
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
2
1
1
4
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2022
 
 
+1%
OPS vs LHP
2024
 
 
+24%
OPS vs RHP
2023
 
 
+68%
OPS vs LHP
2022
 
 
+5%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2022vs Left .640 213 22 4 22 0 .212 .296 .344
Since 2022vs Right .636 479 51 12 55 3 .223 .292 .344
2024vs Left .615 36 4 0 2 0 .250 .333 .281
2024vs Right .765 151 16 7 27 0 .246 .325 .440
2023vs Left .801 43 4 2 4 0 .229 .372 .429
2023vs Right .478 108 9 0 9 1 .198 .241 .238
2022vs Left .597 134 14 2 16 0 .197 .261 .336
2022vs Right .629 220 26 5 19 2 .221 .295 .333
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2022
 
 
+14%
OPS on Road
2024
 
 
+16%
OPS on Road
2023
 
 
+85%
OPS on Road
2022
 
 
+8%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2022Home .596 345 38 7 40 1 .211 .284 .312
Since 2022Away .679 347 35 9 37 2 .228 .303 .376
2024Home .681 92 9 3 12 0 .244 .315 .366
2024Away .789 95 11 4 17 0 .250 .337 .452
2023Home .407 82 6 0 5 0 .149 .232 .176
2023Away .753 69 7 2 8 1 .274 .333 .419
2022Home .641 171 23 4 23 1 .224 .292 .349
2022Away .594 183 17 3 12 1 .200 .273 .321
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Stat Review
How does Carson Kelly compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Expected BA
    Expected Batting Average.
  • Expected SLG
    Expected Slugging Percentage.
  • Sprint Speed
    The speed of a runner from home to first, in feet per second.
  • Ground Ball %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are on the ground.
  • Line Drive %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are line drives.
  • Fly Ball %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are fly balls.
BB/K
0.43
 
BB Rate
8.6%
 
K Rate
19.8%
 
BABIP
.276
 
ISO
.163
 
AVG
.247
 
OBP
.326
 
SLG
.410
 
OPS
.736
 
wOBA
.327
 
Exit Velocity
89.7 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
40.0%
 
Barrels/PA
4.8%
 
Expected BA
.252
 
Expected SLG
.443
 
Sprint Speed
22.6 ft/sec
 
Ground Ball %
46.2%
 
Line Drive %
16.9%
 
Fly Ball %
36.9%
 
Prospect Rankings History
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Batted Ball Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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34 days ago
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2015
Kelly once again served as Arizona's primary backstop in 2022, but he had a disappointing offensive campaign .211/.282/.343 slash line, seven home runs and 35 RBI in 104 games. He was still a plus defender but struggled to square up the ball, as evidenced by his 5.2 percent barrel rate. Kelly produced an .826 OPS in 2019 during his first season with the Diamondbacks, but he's been inconsistent at the plate over the past few years. Kelly appeared primed to open 2023 as Arizona's starting backstop once again, but that was before the organization acquired arguably the best catching prospect in baseball, Gabriel Moreno, from Toronto for Daulton Varsho. The pair could split playing time early in 2023, but in practice Kelly should operate as the Diamondbacks' secondary catcher. Still, he should see his fair share of starts with Moreno set for his first full season in the majors.
Kelly is a fine catcher. He has hit for about a .240 average with 15 homers over the past three seasons. While he didn't walk much in 2020 (4.7 BB%), he has a career 10.8 BB% that helps in OBP and points leagues. He's been consistent over the years, so it's tough to find any downside or upside. In June, he was hit in the wrist and missed about six weeks. He had a .845 OPS before the injury and a .660 OPS after it, with most of his struggles coming from a loss of power. It's going to be about impossible for a catcher to not get banged up. He's probably not rosterable in one-catcher leagues, except in those that allow you to stream at Colorado. In all two-catcher leagues, he should be on some team, but don't spend more than a buck or two or an endgame pick on him.
Kelly looked like a solid mid-tier catcher last winter after hitting .248/.348/.478 with 18 homers in his first full season the year prior, but those who bought in expecting a repeat wound up quite disappointed. In 39 games, his slash line dipped to just .221/.264/.385 as he hit a modest five homers. While it's true that his good year was much longer than his bad one, his underlying numbers suggest his struggles were more a result of poor performance than small-sample misfortune. His K% rose slightly from 21.6 to 22.5 as his BB% cratered from 13.2 to 4.7. When he did make contact, it was significantly worse than in 2019, as his average exit velocity fell from 89.0 to 86.3 mph. As a decent defender, he'll only need a small step forward at the plate to be a solid starter in 2021, but he only projected as an average starter as a prospect, so it's quite likely he remains fine but fairly forgettable going forward.
Being shipped to Arizona in the trade for Paul Goldschmidt was a major blessing for Kelly, as he blossomed when finally out of Yadier Molina's shadow in St. Louis. Kelly received his first extended playing time in his age-25 season and delivered 18 home runs in 365 plate appearances (85 starts). He was solid defensively and his framing graded out exceptionally well. He had a 13.2 BB%, .232 ISO and a hard-hit rate in the 58th percentile. Manager Torey Lovullo utilized a heavy rotation behind the plate for a good chunk of the season, but Kelly was clearly the top choice at the end of the day and finished with some of the best offensive rate stats among catchers (his 108 wRC+ was identical to J.T. Realmuto's mark). Alex Avila -- who received 49 starts at catcher last season -- is headed for free agency, and while Avila could return, Kelly sets up to see an even heavier workload in 2020 regardless.
A miserable spring took Kelly out of the conversation for an Opening Day roster spot with the Cardinals. Opportunity knocked in May when Yadier Molina hit the disabled list, but Kelly made it less than two weeks before he landed on the DL with an injury of his own (hamstring). Kelly was optioned shortly after being activated and remained in the minors until September, ultimately logging a mere 10 at-bats for the big club over the final month as St. Louis made a last-gasp effort at a playoff spot. At Triple-A, Kelly walked as many times as he struck out in 349 PA and roped line drives at an above-average 22.9% clip. Now that he's out from Molina's shadow after being traded in the Paul Goldschmidt deal, Kelly should finally get an extended opportunity to show what he can do against big-league pitching as Arizona's primary backstop. The power is middling, but Kelly is very much in the second catcher mix given his contact skills and expected role.
Catching prospects should essentially be considered guilty of being replacement-level fantasy options until proven innocent. Kelly was seen by almost every outlet as one of the top catching prospects in baseball entering the 2017 season. We all knew he would find it hard to get consistent playing time behind Yadier Molina on the organizational depth chart, but the idea of a big-league-ready catcher who could hit for a decent average with some pop was appealing, even in limited at-bats. Not only was Kelly held down at Triple-A for much of the season so that he could get regular at-bats, but he now has a career .171 average with zero home runs in 89 MLB plate appearances. He hit well again at Triple-A, but finds himself in the same situation as a year ago -- behind a well-paid legend on a contender. The Cardinals also have another catching prospect in Andrew Knizner who is getting close to the majors and may be a better version of Kelly. At least this season Kelly figures to spend the whole year in the majors.
After performing as an above league-average hitter at Double-A (115 wRC+) and essentially a league-average hitter at Triple-A (98 wRC+), Kelly earned his first trip to the majors when rosters expanded in September. During his time with the big club, he went 2-for-14 across 10 games. He was also extremely impressive in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .286/.387/.455 with three home runs and a 4:13 K:BB in 94 plate appearances. While it was exciting to see Kelly climb his way through the ranks of the Cardinals organization, Yadier Molina remains the unquestioned starting catcher in St. Louis. Kelly will compete with veteran Eric Fryer for the backup catcher spot in camp and may return to Memphis in order to continue to see the workload of a No. 1 catcher. If Molina were to get hurt, however, Kelly would figure to see the bulk of the action behind the dish and would become relevant in all two-catcher formats.
In his first full season as a catching prospect, Kelly struggled to make an impact with Low-A Peoria. Kelly still holds a ton of potential as he's been playing professionally since he was 17. He's managed in increase his walk rate and decrease his strikeout rate each year since turning pro. Learning a new position is never easy, and catcher may be the most difficult so some growing pains are to be expected. Still the Cardinals brass along with Mike Matheny are impressed with his rapid improvement. Kelly will work with the Cardinals this winter to help improve his workout strategy. He's still one of the team's better prospects, but is likely several years away from helping in St. Louis.
More Fantasy News
Losing work to Rogers
CDetroit Tigers
July 10, 2024
Kelly is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Guardians.
ANALYSIS
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Sitting again Monday
CDetroit Tigers
July 8, 2024
Kelly is out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Guardians.
ANALYSIS
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Taking seat Sunday
CDetroit Tigers
July 7, 2024
Kelly is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Reds.
ANALYSIS
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Pops grand slam Wednesday
CDetroit Tigers
July 3, 2024
Kelly went 1-for-4 with a grand slam in Wednesday's 9-2 win over the Twins.
ANALYSIS
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Tees off Sunday
CDetroit Tigers
June 30, 2024
Kelly went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and an additional run scored in Sunday's 7-6 win over the Angels.
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Club undecided on option
CDetroit Tigers
October 2, 2023
Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said Monday that the club is undecided on exercising Kelly's $3.5 million option for 2024, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com reports.
ANALYSIS
"That's very much an open question for us," Harris said. "We're going to spend a lot of time on it." Kelly was quickly scooped up by the Tigers in August after being cut loose by the Diamondbacks. The $3.5 million club option for 2024 would be a pay cut after he earned $4.28 million in 2023, but the Tigers must decide whether Kelly is worth it after he had just a .540 OPS for them down the stretch and a .565 OPS overall this season. If Kelly is ultimately retained, it would be as a backup to Jake Rogers.
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