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Cardinals acquire INF Ty Kelly for P Sam Gaviglio in minor league swap with Mariners

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Here's a very brief introduction to the newest member of the Cardinals organization

Ty Kelly
Ty Kelly

First, good luck to Sam Gaviglio. The Cardinals drafted the righty in the 5th round of the 2011 draft. He had an up and down run in the Cardinals' minor league system, and was mostly up toward the end of his tenure, posting a ERA under 3 and 52 SO against 16 walks from the end of June until the end of the AA season this year.

Here's an article about Gaviglio from 2012 that's fun to revisit.

On to Ty Kelly, who the Cardinals added to their 40 man roster. I knew nothing about Kelly before some brief research tonight, and the warning to avoid "scouting the stats" in the minor leagues is wise, but hoo boy are there some interesting stats. Kelly, a switch-hitter, is 26 years old already, and split time between 2nd and 3rd in AAA for Seattle this year in the PCL.

Here's the interesting part: Kelly has one skill that is crystal clear from looking just at the notoriously misleading PCL stats. The man can control the strike zone.

Kelly walked over 20% of the time in AAA last season and 15.5% of the time this year, while striking out in 16% and 17% of his PA's. Those are Matt Carpenterian numbers, and in fact not that different from Matt's 26 year-old 2011 in AAA when he walked 15% of the time and struck out 12%. Now Carpenter did a lot more with the contact he made, but Kelly isn't as punchless as Mike O'Neill, the disciplined but slap-hitting Cardinal farmhand. It's hard to know what to make of this given the PCL's reputation, but Kelly managed 15 homeruns this season, and slugged better than .400.

Anyway, there's a very brief primer. The Steamer projections system is a fan of Kelly's plate discipline, and Kelly popped up in the "Top Prospects by Projected WAR" three times this year, ending in first place in all of the minors. Check out those rankings and brief blurbs from Carson Cistulli herehere, and here. (if you read just one, make it the last, as it's the most recent).

And read this terrific piece from Lookout Landing aptly titled "Ty Kelly Chooses Not to Swing" and this profile from LL.

Oh, and he played some corner OF as well. Sounds like a useful guy to have around.

Check back for a more thorough look at Kelly from Joe Schwarz in the morning.