To make room on the 40-man roster for Kelley, the Yankees placed Alex Rodriguez on the 60-day DL.
Kelley, 28, throws fastballs and sliders with his heater sitting in the 92-93 mph range, topping out at 95 mph. In parts of four seasons in the majors, he has a 3.52 ERA, a 8.6 K/9, and a 2.7 BB/9.
He is a big time fly ball pitcher with a GB% of just 29.5 in his career. His HR/FB rate of 9.7% is no where near Phil Hughes-like. Keep in mind though, he’s pitched the majority of his career in Seattle and Yankee Stadium is much tougher on righties.
He already has a decent strikeout rate and hopefully the Larry Rothschild-effect helps him pick that up even more. On top of that, the Yankees have a very strong defensive outfield (especially if Curtis Granderson is moved to left field where he’ll likely be more effective), his fly ball tendencies may actually end up being a positive.
Almonte, 23, is a 5-foot-9, 205-pound leadoff hitter and a good one. He has good patience at the plate with a career .340 OBP despite just a .263 average. He’s fast and getting better on the bases too with 32 stolen bases and was caught just five times in 85 games mostly in Double-A last year. He doesn’t have much power though with a career .388 slugging in the minors.
He’s a decent, but not great prospect. The thing is, he’s easily overshadowed in a Yankees farm system which is outfield heavy at the moment. Besides the elite outfield prospects still in the lower levels, Almonte could be beaten to the majors by Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa, and probably Ramon Flores as well. Heck, Slade Heathcott could even catch up to him. So while he’s decent, he’s extremely expendable.
Considering everything, I would say this is a good trade for the Yankees. They get some bullpen depth and a guy who can throw strikes and only have to give up their 8th best outfield prospect. Trading from depth is usually a good thing.
Almonte ranked 8th overall on our own Greg Corcoran’s Top 10 Yankees Outfield Prospects list. He did not make BBD’s Top 50 Yankees Prospects overall though.