For the fifth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
This year’s Exit Interview series is “being brought to you by” some of the various Cardinal podcasts that are out there for your listening pleasure. Our focus this time is Double Birds Podcast. Chase and El Maquino, joined occasionally by guests, cast a sometimes critical but always informed eye on all things Cardinals. Find them on iTunes or check out Chase’s blog.
Player: Carson Kelly
Season stats: 10 games, 14 PA, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K, .154/.214/.231, 20 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR
Overall grade: C
Positives: Made his major league debut on September 5, doubling as a pinch-hitter and scoring a run….hit .292 in Memphis, though he didn’t have a single home run….actually was better away from Memphis (.315/.373/.444)….hit .302 in night games at AAA….started the season in Springfield, where he hit .287 with six homers….hit .421 in day games in Springfield….didn’t make an error in the bigs.
Negatives: Went 1-12 after his debut….had a slow start to the season, hitting .238 in April….had a .254/.312/.341 line against righties in AA.
Overview: For a couple of years now, Carson Kelly has been considered the potential heir apparent assuming that Yadier Molina isn’t actually a robot and will someday not catch 1000 innings for the Cardinals. We finally got to get a quick glimpse of him this season, but not enough to really draw any sort of conclusions. Kelly had a solid enough minor league season and, just a year removed from the minor league Gold Glove award, probably can handle the job defensively. Offensively, if you are going to draw conclusions about his major league readiness from 14 plate appearances, well, you might want to re-evaluate that.
Outlook: Given that Molina still hasn’t proven that he’s not that robot and that Brayan Pena is under contract for another year, it would seem likely that Kelly gets a chance to enjoy the land of the Delta blues a little more next season. That said, if injury or an ineffective Pena is an issue, the club won’t hesitate to bring Kelly back to the big leagues.