LHP Antoine Kelly
Are you sensing a theme here? Three straight left handed pitchers are on our untouchable prospects list, and all with good reason, beyond the general lack of left handed depth throughout the organization.
During the 2019 MLB Draft, it was clear the Brewers made a priority out of adding left handed pitching, selecting seven lefties in the first 17 rounds. The first selection was Ethan Small, a lefty also appearing on this list, and the second selection was Antoine Kelly, who also should be staying put within the organization.
Kelly was drafted out of Wabash Valley CC in Illinois where he had 19.1 K/9 his freshman year. His fastball is electric, sitting 94-97 MPH while topping out around 98 MPH, for now. With a big frame to fill out, (6’6″ tall) and an easy, smooth delivery, he could easily reach triple digits in the future.
According to reports, a lot of scouts have compared him to a young David Price, who had a similar physical build and big time stuff.
After being drafted, Kelly went to the Arizona Rookie League and dominated. In nine starts covering 28.2 innings, he had a 1.26 ERA with 41 strikeouts and only five walks.
While his secondary pitches will need some work, if they can get his slider to be respectable, he can be a dominant reliever. If he can get both his slider and his changeup to become quality pitches, he can be a dominant starter. If he can’t get his secondary stuff to be much better, he’ll be a reliever with a lot of potential that he just can’t reach.
Kelly is practically the definition of a “boom-or-bust” prospect. If he booms, he can be a dominant force for years to come and the Brewers will look like geniuses. If he busts, it was a worthy gamble that just didn’t pay off.
After his first few outings in pro ball, everything’s still looking like he’s trending towards the “boom” category, so there’s zero reason to give him away now. The Brewers need to make him untouchable and continue to develop him.