When scoping out the list of the Baltimore Orioles' top 20 prospects, Tyler Kelly’s name is nowhere to be found.
However, if this 23-year-old third base prospect keeps playing the way he has this season, he may find himself playing infield at Camden Yards in the future.
For Orioles fans who have lost a decade of life watching painful plays on the infield this year, Kelly may be a breath of fresh air.
Baltimore selected Kelly, a relative unknown, in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB draft out of the University of California-Davis. He currently plays for the Frederick Keys of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League.
Scouting reports on Kelly all state he is a patient hitter with good plate discipline and solid gap power.
While this 6'0" 185-lb switch-hitter struggled earlier this season, Kelly has begun to live up to reports.
Through 66 games at Frederick, Kelly is batting .326 (74-for-228) with six home runs and 28 RBI. Kelly also has 13 doubles and 45 walks against 38 strikeouts. His OBP/SLG/OPS is .440/.461/.901.
In the last 10 games, Kelly is hitting .359 (14-for-39).
Defensively, Orioles Nation reported Kelly is deemed an average infielder with above-average arm strength.
While drafted as a second baseman, Kelly has played multiple positions this season, including DH and outfield. But recently, Frederick deployed Kelly to third base.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, in four minor league seasons, Kelly has committed 33 errors in 596 chances at third base (.945 fielding percent). At second, Kelly has committed 13 errors in 509 chances (.974 fielding percent).
These numbers are a bit skewed however, for most of his errors occurred during the earliest parts of his minor league career.
While Kelly’s future with the Orioles is anyone’s guess, this young man seems to be proving himself as a grind-it-out type hitter who can hold the fort defensively.
And people are starting to take notice.
Per Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Kelly was recently selected to the Carolina Midseason All-Star game along with Dylan Bundy and Jeremy Nowak.
This is Kelly’s third All-Star selection since signing with Baltimore.
So while Orioles fans continue to cringe at the team’s third base situation, perhaps the same can take solace that relief may be on its way, albeit not immediately.
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