|Arizona Diamondbacks – No. 18|
|Born: July 14, 1994|
|September 5, 2016, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|MLB statistics |
(through May 11, 2021)
|Runs batted in||95|
Carson Franklin Kelly (born July 14, 1994) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played in MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2016 through 2018.
Early life and career
Kelly attended Stoller Middle School and Westview High School in Beaverton, Oregon. In 2011, his junior year, he appeared in a national high school all-star game. He was named the Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He also won gold medals in the 2011 World Youth Baseball Championship and an under-18 international tournament. Kelly committed to the University of Oregon to play college baseball for the Oregon Ducks. He grew up a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals selected Kelly as a third baseman in the second round and 86th overall selection of the 2012 amateur draft. He signed with the Cardinals, receiving a $1.6 million signing bonus. He began his career with the Johnson City Cardinals of the Rookie-level Appalachian League. He hit .225 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 56 games for Johnson City. In 2013, he was promoted to the Peoria Chiefs of the Class A Midwest League. He struggled with Peoria, and was demoted to the State College Spikes of the Class A-Short Season New York–Penn League. In 113 games between the two clubs he batted .257 with six home runs and 45 RBIs.
In 2013, Kelly and Gary LaRocque, the Cardinals' director of player development, discussed his switching positions to catcher. Kelly agreed to the switch, and began to transition during the 2013–14 offseason. He played for Peoria in 2014, and batted .248 with six home runs and 49 RBIs in 98 games. He spent the 2015 season with the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League and compiled a .219 batting average with eight home runs and 51 RBIs in 108 games. He won the 2015 minor leagues Rawlings Gold Glove Award for catchers and was ranked the tenth-best prospect in the Cardinals system prior to the 2016 season, per Baseball America.
Kelly began the 2016 season with the Springfield Cardinals of the Class AA Texas League. He was selected to the 2016 Texas League All-Star Game and to the 2016 All-Star Futures Game. Kelly was promoted to the Memphis Redbirds of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League on July 11, 2016.
The Cardinals purchased Kelly's contract on September 4, 2016, promoting him to the major leagues. In 96 games between Springfield and Memphis prior to his call up he batted .289/.343/.395 with six home runs and 32 RBIs. He made his major league debut on September 5 at Pittsburgh and, in his first ever at-bat, hit a line-drive double in the eighth inning, and then scored his first run. After the season, the Cardinals assigned Kelly to the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League (AFL). The Cardinals also named Kelly their 2016 Minor League Player of the Year.
Kelly returned to Memphis to begin 2017. He was recalled to St. Louis on July 21 and spent the remainder of the season there. In 68 games for Memphis he posted a .283 batting average with ten home runs and 41 RBIs, and in 34 games for St. Louis he batted .174/.240/.217.
MLB.com ranked Kelly as St. Louis's third best prospect going into the 2018 season. He began the season with Memphis and received his first 2018 promotion to the major leagues on May 6 when Yadier Molina was placed on the disabled list. However, Kelly was placed on the disabled list on May 17 with a right hamstring sprain.
Kelly entered the 2019 season as Arizona's starting catcher. On March 30, 2019, he hit a game-winning RBI in his debut as a Diamondback. On May 4, 2019, he hit his first career home run. Kelly slashed .245/.348/.478 with 18 home runs and 47 RBIs over 111 games for the season. His 18 home runs tied Miguel Montero for the most home runs hit by a Diamondbacks catcher in a single season. He returned as Arizona's first choice catcher for the shortened 2020 season. On August 9, Kelly pitched a scoreless inning during a blowout against the San Diego Padres. Over 39 games during the 2020 season, he batted .221 with five home runs and 19 RBIs.
Kelly's mother, Traci, and his father, Mike, are from Chicago. The Kelly family spent two years living in Toronto during Carson's youth. His younger brother, Parker, played college baseball for the University of Oregon and was drafted by the Cardinals in the 20th round of the 2018 MLB draft.
- "Baseball: Westview's Carson Kelly picked for national all-star game". oregonlive.com. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Westview's Carson Kelly chosen Gatorade Oregon boys baseball player of the year". oregonlive.com. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Community – CentreDaily.com". centredaily.com. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- Hummel, Rick (June 16, 2012). "Notebook: Cards prospect looks right at home". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
- "Carson Kelly has learned from Yadier Molina, converted family to Cardinals fans: Live chat recap - OregonLive.com". Highschoolsports.oregonlive.com. April 29, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- "MLB Draft: St. Louis selects Westview's Carson Kelly as the No. 86 overall pick". OregonLive.com. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- Dave Eminian. "Cards prospect Carson Kelly catching on in position switch with Chiefs". Journal Star. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Johnson City Cardinals expecting big things from 17-year-old third baseman this season". Johnson City Press. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Prospect Carson Kelly growing under watchful eyes of Matheny, Molina". KMOV.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Cardinals farmhand Kelly embraces new role as catcher". Quad-Cities Online. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "Carson Kelly continues to adjust behind plate, draws attention from Matheny". KMOV. Archived from the original on December 4, 2014. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "St. Louis Cardinals prospects Carson Kelly, Sam Tuivailala, Stephen Piscotty, Luke Weaver, Jacob Wilson ready for exciting seasons". MiLB.com. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
- State College Spikes (September 28, 2015). "Spikes alum Kelly named MiLB Gold Glove catcher". MiLB.com. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- Manuel, John (November 16, 2015). "St. Louis Cardinals top 10 prospects". Baseball America. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
- Langosch, Jenifer (June 14, 2016). "Wong getting work in center field in Minors". stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Goold, Derrick (July 8, 2016). "Reyes (No. 2 overall) leads new stream of Cardinals prospects in rankings". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Cards add catchers Pena & Kelly to roster". MLB.com. September 4, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
- "Kelly doubles in first Major League at-bat". MLB.com. September 5, 2016.
- "Waino drives in 3 as Cards gain ground in WC race". MLB.com. September 5, 2016.
- "Major League Baseball | Winter Leagues | Arizona Fall League | MLB.com". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- "Carson Kelly Stats, Highlights, Bio - MiLB.com Stats - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
- "Cards' Top 30 Prospects list led by MLB-ready talent". MLB.com. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- ESPN (December 5, 2018). "Diamondbacks trade Paul Goldschmidt to Cardinals". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- Thornburg, Chad (December 5, 2018). "Cardinals trade for Paul Goldschmidt". MLB.com. MLB. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- "Oregon Ducks recruit Carson Kelly catches glimpse of Major League life with St. Louis Cardinals". OregonLive.com. Retrieved November 30, 2014.
- "MLB draft: Parker Kelly of Oregon Ducks selected by St. Louis Cardinals, could join his brother Carson in big leagues". OregonLive.com. June 6, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
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