Keone Cole Kela
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 230 lb.
- School Everett Community College
- High School Chief Sealth High School
- Debut April 7, 2015
Pitcher Keone Kela was a 29th-round selection by the Seattle Mariners in the 2011 amateur draft, out of a nearby high school, but he decided to head to college. After spending a year at Everett Community College, he was drafted again in 2012, this time by the Texas Rangers in the 12th round. he signed and began his pro career that season by pitching 9 times with the AZL Rangers, going 0-1, 1.59 as a reliever. In 2013, he played for three different teams, the AZL Rangers again, the Spokane Indians and the Hickory Crawdads, putting up a combined mark of 5-4, 3.46 in 27 outings, all in relief. He collected 3 saves and struck out 52 in 39 innings.
Kela moved up to AA in 2014, after starting the season with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of the Class A Carolina League. He was 0-1, 2.61 in 8 games when he was moved up to the Frisco Rough Riders of the Texas League on May 4th. He had an outstanding season there, with an ERA of 1.86 in 36 appearances and only 22 hits allowed in 38 2/3 innings. He struck out 55 batters and gave up only one home run while picking up 5 saves.
He continued to impress in spring training in 2015 and made the team's opening day roster. His major league debut came in the second game of the season, against the Oakland Athletics on April 7th. He was called into the game in relief of starter Colby Lewis with the Rangers holding a 3-1 lead to start the 7th inning. he quickly got himself in trouble by allowing a single to Billy Butler and walking Ike Davis; he struck out Brett Lawrie for the first out, but allowed another single, to Stephen Vogt, to load the bases before forcing Marcus Semien to ground into an inning-ending double play. He gave way to Shawn Tolleson at the start of the 8th. He was used regularly by the Rangers and did well, leading to manager Jeff Banister giving him a first opportunity to earn a save on June 17th, in a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, in another game-deciding situation the next day, he was charged with a defeat through rare circumstances, as he committed a balk with a runner on third base with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to give Los Angeles a 1-0 win. Fellow rookie Kike Hernandez had distracted him with a feint, and two umpires, Marvin Hudson at home and Jim Joyce at first base, immediately made the call when he flinched. "I didn't need for them to tell me. We could see it," Banister commented after the game.