Every year, there are players in the minor leagues who seem to fly under the radar, guys who are not considered top prospects or are not high-round draft picks.
But they put up good numbers and we should notice that.
Ty Kelly at Single-A Delmarva is one of those guys, and I got the chance to meet and interview him before Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Perdue Stadium.
Kelly is 10th in the South Atlantic League batting at .312 in 52 games with seven doubles, three homers and 27 RBIs.
He went 8-for-16 over his past four Shorebirds games and, after hitting .259 for Delmarva last year, has taken his game to a higher level in 2011.
“The more I think about it, there were times I struggled last year and I had to figure out what I was doing wrong. This year, there was a time where I struggled and I had to think back to last year. That experience helped me get through tough times and be able to stay consistent,” said Kelly, a 13th-round pick in 2009 out of Cal-Davis.
He went 0-for-3 and played all nine innings Tuesday night in Salisbury. That was his second All-Star appearance after he scored the winning run in the New York-Penn League contest representing short-season Single-A Aberdeen in 2009.
“It’s very exciting. To be recognized at a venue like this is really cool and to be with all these players,” he said before the Sally League game.
Kelly has been a versatile player with the glove, playing infield and outfield. He is a switch-hitter and said his dad started him batting from both sides as far back as he can remember.
“There were always some coaches where, ‘You weren’t hitting well from one side,’ and they said stop doing it. But my dad said, ‘No you are going to do it and that’s the end of that,’ “Kelly said.
Before you temper any enthusiasm for Kelly’s solid season, saying he should be playing this well repeating a level, consider this: Joe Mahoney played at Delmarva in both in 2008 and 2009 and last season was the O’s minor league Player of the Year.
Kelly hopes his versatility on defense and his solid batting average might help him get noticed a bit more.
“Hopefully,” he said. “All I can really do is play the best I can and hope people recognize it.”