Shorebird of the Week – July 29, 2010

July 29, 2010 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports 

Playing third in this day game against Hickory, Ty Kelly awaits the next ball hit to him. Kelly has split time between second base and third base this season.

Ty Kelly wrapped up a solid first half in this June 20 game against Lexington. He's kept on a path of steady improvement to this day.

Sometimes observers like me are mesmerized by the gaudy stats of a player just starting out in league play. Obviously there are those who can keep up this hectic pace long enough to quickly advance to the next level but more often these stars fade back to a more average or even subpar stat line. We tend to overlook the steady performer who comes to work every day and continues performing at a sound level. Ty Kelly is one of those guys.

Indeed, Kelly got off to a slow start, hitting just .233 in April. But since then he’s slowly built up the batting mark to a level where he’s well in line with the numbers he posted last year in his inaugural pro season at Aberdeen.

There Ty went .265/1/18 in 61 contests with the Ironbirds; in his first full season with Delmarva Kelly has brought the mark to .261/3/39 in 92 games. One big difference comes in extra base hits – Ty was almost exclusively a singles hitter with Aberdeen (just 7 extra base hits) but this year Kelly is knocking the ball around with authority, boasting a line of 23 doubles, 3 triples, and 3 home runs. And Ty seems to thrive with runners in scoring position with a .289 situational average, which probably explains the vastly improved RBI total.

Kelly wasn’t a highly-touted prospect as the Orioles waited until the 13th round to claim him last year; the native Texan played for the University of California-Davis. But he could be the kind of player who will advance through the system as his experience and hard work matches up well with the increasing ability of the players he’s up against. Toss in the fact he’s a switch-hitting infielder (although hitting .170 as a right-hander may necessiate dropping that eventually) and has a good eye at the plate – in his season-plus career Ty has 90 strikeouts and 86 walks – and the guy perhaps picked as an organizational player may defy the conventional wisdom and advance all the way to Baltimore. He just turned 22 last week so developmental time is on his side and there’s guys in the big leagues who’d love to see a .260 average right now.

Slow and steady may well win this race.

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