Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks) has created another KBO export myth.
The right-hander pitched six and one-third innings of four-hit ball, allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out 10 in the 스포츠토토 Diamondbacks’ 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday. Kelly improved to 6-3 on the season and moved into a tie for first place in the National League (NL) in wins.
With a 4-0 lead and runners on first and second in the seventh inning, Kelly left the mound and allowed the next pitcher to score the winning run, resulting in an unearned run.
Kelly is the latest in the KBO’s long line of homegrown talent.
The SK Wyverns (now the SSG Landers) acquired Kelly in late 2014. The deal totaled $350,000 (approximately $460,000) in signing bonus ($100,000) and salary ($200,000). The reason for the relatively low price was that he had never pitched in the big leagues before. At the time, Kelly had appeared in 125 games (76 starts) in the minor leagues, posting a 39-26 record with a 3.40 ERA, but had never made a big league start.
Kelly went 48-32 with a 3.86 ERA in 119 games for SK from 2015 to 2018. After winning the 2018 Korean Series, he moved to the U.S., signing a 2+2 year, $14.5 million contract with Arizona. After going 13-14 with a 4.42 ERA in 2019, he had a career-high season last year with a 13-8 record and 3.37 ERA. He also surpassed 200 innings pitched in a season for the first time in his career.
His performance earned him a spot on Team USA’s roster for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). He pitched in the final game of the WBC against Japan. In early April 2022, he signed a two-year, $18 million extension with Arizona.
Throughout his time in the big leagues, he has been more than worth his price tag.
This season, he ranks fifth in the National League in ERA (2.83). He is second in batting average (0.192) and 10th in strikeouts (69). His four-seam fastball averages just 150 mph, but he has a great changeup and excellent command.
“Kelly’s stuff was perfect today,” said Boston manager Alex Cora, “and he was using the strike zone like a Maddux.”