The Mets signed Ty Kelly to a minor league contract shortly after the 2015 season reached its conclusion. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2009, he bounced around the minors and seemed liked a solid, but unremarkable, prospect. The one aspect of his game that stood out, however, was his unbelievable walk rate.
In 2013, while in the Seattle Mariners system, he posted a 20.2 BB% and would very rarely swing at balls outside of the strike zone. That made for the profile of a patient hitter with a good eye at the plate. And when he arrived in Las Vegas in 2016, his numbers took off. He was leading the league with a .391 batting average and a .478 on-base percentage when he got the call up to the Mets on May 24.
The month of May hadn’t been kind to the Mets on the injury front. Lucas Duda was placed on the DL, and his backup Wilmer Flores was also on the DL with a hamstring injury. With Eric Campbell as the only other option, the Mets decided to bring up Kelly and give him his first chance in the majors.
A switch-hitter who could play multiple positions, Kelly gave the Mets flexibility they sorely needed with injuries piling up. Unfortunately, his numbers in Vegas did not translate right away in the majors, and the major league portion of the first half of his season didn’t go well. He hit just .148/.207/.259. Not known for his power, he did however have a memorable game in Pittsburgh when he hit his first major league home run to tie the game off Jameson Taillon.
Kelly bounced between Triple-A and the majors multiple times throughout the season, but in the second half of the season he fared much better. August was his most productive month. In nine games, he hit .381/.500/.524 and had four RBIs. In 21 at-bats he showed off that patience at the plate with six walks. He had a sluggish September and finished the season batting .241/.352/.345 with eleven walks, seven RBIs, and just that one home run.
Defensively, Kelly was fine, splitting most of his time between third base and left field. He made the plays he was supposed to, and he even nailed a runner at the plate in the wild game against Philadelphia when the Mets attempted to make an epic comeback but fell just short.
Kelly’s versatility earned him a spot on the Wild Card roster and he did pick up one of the Mets’ four hits against a dominant Madison Bumgarner. Heading into 2017, the Mets should have more depth in the infield and outfield, which makes it hard to envision him earning a spot on the major league roster, at least at the beginning of the season.