San Diego Padres stud pitching prospect Casey Kelly should be called up in July, provided he is healthy (he's currently on the seven-day disabled list in the minors).
The Padres risk stalling his development and not capitalizing on a sure-fire crowd attractor. As a prime candidate to be a September call-up when rosters expand, Kelly would provide an extra two months of financial boosting to a team riddled with economic uncertainty. It is in the best interest of the organization to bring up Kelly sooner than later.
Kelly is pitching in the notorious hitter’s league, the Pacific Coast League for the Tucson Padres. In 12 innings pitched for the baby Padres, Kelly has a 2.25 ERA with 14 strikeouts and zero walks.
Coming into the 2012 season, he was the No. 76 overall prospect in the minors, according to Baseball America, so it is not overly aggressive to assume that Kelly has the ability to keep firing off elite performances in Triple-A.
The issue is that if Kelly is going to be the future of the San Diego Padres, then he has to be considered for a promotion soon so that his development does not stall.
The knock on Kelly has always been his consistency despite having an excellent arsenal of pitches, and it appears as though he is finally reining in his talents to produce as expected. Even Baseball America had his estimated time of arrival to be 2013, so an accelerated call-up is definitely feasible.
After trading away beloved fan favorite Adrian Gonzalez, it is time for the organization to show some fruits from the trade and call up the key piece from that deal. General buzz around a basement-dwelling team can be had by the long-awaited arrival of a top pitching prospect, such as Stephen Strasburg.
The Padres can expect to have a similar type of interest (though clearly Strasburg and Kelly are on two different levels) from the city by showcasing its young talent and giving it regular playing time during the season.
Calling up Kelly in September will all but guarantee little playing time for him. Starting his service time two months earlier with a July call-up will be outweighed by an increased development for him and a boost of financial prosperity for the team.