Cincinnati Reds draft profile: Right-handed pitcher Jared Kelley

The MLB Draft is a few short weeks away. Let’s take a peek at one of the players sure to be on the Cincinnati Reds radar; right-hander Jared Kelley.

Taking a high school pitcher in the first round always comes with risk. That said, Jared Kelley checks all the boxes, and the team that selects him may not have to wait all that long. Kelley is a real possibility for the Cincinnati Reds at No. 12. Though it’s been a trend in recent drafts to take a college player in the first round, if Kelley’s there, the Reds should flip the script.

Adding a high school hurler is a gamble. Typically a prep player is not as far along in their development s their college counterparts. However, that didn’t stop the Reds from taking Hunter Greene with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Perhaps Kelley will be the next big-time high school starter to join Cincinnati.

Depending on where you look, Kelley is ranked anywhere from No. 12, according to MLB.com, all the way to No. 18, according to The Athletic. One thing is for sure, however, and that’s Kelley’s electric fastball that can touch 98-MPH.

Kelley already posses a plus-changeup as well; something rarely seen from prep players, as high school pitchers typically rely on their fastball and then a breaking pitch. According to MLB.com, Kelley is also working on developing a slurve. If Kyle Boddy is able to get ahold of pitcher like Kelley, who knows what this kid’s ceiling could be.

Now, some fans may be asking, “Why another pitcher? Don’t we have enough?” To that I say, absolutely not. While the Reds top two players in their farm system (Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene) are both pitchers, the drop-off behind them is vast. Tony Santillan ranks No. 9 in the Reds system according to MLB Pipeline, and he’s yet to reach Triple-A.

With both Trevor Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani slated to enter free agency following the 2020 season, it becomes imperative that the Cincinnati Reds replenish their farm system with young, quality arms. Jared Kelley certainly fits that mold.

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MLB.com predicts that Kelley has the chance to reach the majors before he turns 21-years old. A starting rotation of Jared Kelley, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene sounds pretty good to me. Let’s see if Kelley makes it to No. 12 when the draft rolls around on June 10th.