Prospect Profile: Don Kelly

In continuing our offseason long look at the top prospects in the organization, TigsTown Minor League Editor Mark Anderson profiles each prospect in depth. Inside, he profiles utility infielder Don Kelly, currently representing the Tigers down in Arizona in the Arizona Fall League.

Don Kelly
Position: Infielder Height: 6-4 Weight: 190
Born: 2/15/1980 Bats: Left Throws: Right

Background
Kelly was the Tigers 8th round choice in the 2001 draft out of Point Park College. Donnie debuted with the Tigers that year, and has done nothing but hit ever since. Rising through the organization with relative ease, Kelly finally hit a roadblock in 2004, when a shoulder injury kept him out of action nearly the entire season. After an extensive rehab effort, Kelly returned to the Erie lineup in 2005, determined to put his name back on the prospect map.

Scouting Report
Donnie is somewhat of a frustrating player. Despite a wiry frame with above average power potential, Kelly has yet to add the muscle necessary to drive the ball with more authority. Kelly has always controlled the strike zone well, and hit for a very good average, but he has remained a consistent slap hitter, providing little else on the offensive side of the ball. Donnie provides average speed and good instincts on the bases. He reads pitchers well and gets good jumps, but lacks the raw speed to be a significant base stealing threat. Defensively, Kelly was considered average to slightly below before his shoulder injury, and has since seen his abilities questioned even further. An average thrower when drafted, Kelly has now lost some zip on his throws to first, and has yet to regain his accuracy. Errant throws accounted for a vast majority of his errors in 2005, and Donnie will have to regain control of his throws to have any chance at a Major League job. While Kelly has spent most of his professional career at shortstop, he is likely destined for a career as a utility infielder since he doesn't excel at one position.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

AA

Erie

329

.340

22

9

54

43

36

.402

.508

AAA

Toledo

160

.250

8

1

13

15

13

.306

.319


Health Record
As previously mentioned, Kelly's shoulder surgery has really dampened his prospect star. There was some initial concern that Kelly would be unable to return to competitive baseball, and even if he did, he would not be the same player. At this time, his recovery has gone well, and the organization expects both his arm strength and accuracy to be improved in 2006.

The Future
After a mid-season promotion to Toledo, where Kelly only posted a .250/.306/.319 line, it was thought he might get a shot at the opening day roster in 2006. But with a lackluster performance, and defense that is still mildly scary, Kelly appears headed back to Toledo next year. Donnie has a legitimate shot to be solid utility infielder at the next level, and could follow a career path similar to Jose Macias. Kelly lacks Macias' versatility in the field, but he could post similar offensive numbers. Expect Kelly to get some at-bats with the Tigers in 2006, but with the likely return of John McDonald, Kelly's chances will be limited.


Tigs Town Top Stories