Casey Patrick Kelly
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 194 lb.
- High School Sarasota High School
- Debut August 27, 2012
Casey Kelly was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft with the 30th overall selection. He is the son of former big league catcher Pat Kelly and nephew of Mike Kelly. The Sox and scout Anthony Turco convinced him to forego a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee with $3 million in order to sign to play baseball. He started his career as a shortstop but was moved to the mound in 2009, going 7-5, 2.08 in 17 starts his first year after hitting .215 in 36 games in his first season as a professional. In 2010, he moved to the Portland Sea Dogs of the AA Eastern League and was only 3-5, 5.31 in 21 starts. However, at 20, he was one of the youngest players in the circuit, and his stuff was considered well above average. After the season, he was one of the three players acquired by the San Diego Padres in return for All-Star 1B Adrian Gonzalez, alongside 1B Anthony Rizzo and OF Reymond Fuentes.
Kelly spent 2011 with the AA San Antonio Missions of the Texas League and had a very solid year. In 27 starts, he went 11-6 with a 3.98 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 142 1/3 innings. He went to spring training with the Padres in 2012; however, he was still described as being in the process of learning how to pitch, and needed to continue working on a number of things before aspiring to a spot on the big league roster. However, after making two starts with the AAA Tucson Padres early in the season, he complained of elbow soreness and headed back to San Diego to have the elbow examined. He received some good news when the Padres' team physician found inflammation but no structural damage, and only prescribed some rest. When he returned, he pitched three times with the AZL Padres, then went back to San Antonio for three more starts before getting the call to the Show. He made his debut as the Padres' starting pitcher against the Atlanta Braves on August 27th. He was dazzling, giving up only three hits over 6 scoreless innings as he led the Padres to a 3-0 win. He also collected his first big league hit, a single, in his second at-bat against Paul Maholm. He went 2-3, 6.21 in 6 starts for San Diego, pitching 29 innings during which he struck out 26 batters but gave up 39 hits.
Kelly seemed to have a good shot at making the Padres' rotation in 2013, but felt pain in his elbow after a spring training outing on March 7th and had to undergo Tommy John surgery in early April, wiping out his season. Complications in his recovery limited to 4 games in the minor league. He came back in 2015, but results were far from great. With AA San Antonio, he went 1-8, 4.94 in 27 games, then followed that with a record of 1-2, 6.32 in 4 games for the El Paso Chihuahuas in the Pacific Coast League. The Padres gave him a late-season look, but he got roughed up in 3 appearances, being charged with 2 losses and putting up an ERA of 7.94. On December 10th, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with teenage catcher Ricardo Rodriguez, in return for another former top prospect who had found it hard to find his footing in the big leagues, C Christian Bethancourt.