Kris Keller

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Kris Keller
Born: (1978-03-01) March 1, 1978 (age 39)
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 24, 2002, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
May 24, 2002, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Win–Loss 0–0
Earned run average 27.00
Strikeouts 1

Kristopher Shane Keller (born March 1, 1978) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the majority of his career in the Detroit Tigers organization.

High school[edit]

Although born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Keller attended Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Florida. At the end of his senior year 1996) Keller was considered a top prospect. During the regular season Keller struck out 101 in 7023 innings of work and was selected to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star game.[1] In the post-season Keller threw a no-hitter against rival Allen D. Nease Senior High School, striking out nine.[2] USA Today named him an honorable mention on their All-USA High School Baseball team.[3] Following graduation Keller planned to enter the major league draft, but indicated a willingness to postpone a professional career and enter college if he did not receive a good enough offer.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Detroit Tigers[edit]

The Detroit Tigers took Keller in the fourth round, and he reported to the Gulf Coast Tigers. Keller was pleased, remarking that "Coming from where I was supposed to be drafted, anywhere in the top five rounds was fine."[5] Keller finished out the year in the Gulf Coast League, going 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA in six starts. Keller spent the next two years with the Low-A Jamestown Jammers and underwent a conversion from a starting pitcher to a closer. In 1998 he saved eight games and lowered his ERA to 3.27. The next the Tigers rewarded Keller with a promotion to the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps where he went 5-3 as a relief pitcher with an additional eight saves and a 2.92 ERA. In 2000 moved up to the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. For Keller, it was an opportunity to pitch for a team which he had watched as a child: "It's been an awesome experience, playing again in front of my parents and buddies." Although Keller exhibited some control problems he saved 28 games with a 2.91 ERA.[6] At the end of the year Keller was considered a "top-flight closer."[7]

The Tigers moved Keller up to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens for 2001 where his ERA ballooned to 4.48, his highest since 1997. Returning to Toledo for 2002, Keller lowered his ERA to 2.08 and commanded a fastball in the high 90s.[8] On May 24 Keller received the call and headed for Detroit in place of Oscar Salazar. Keller made his major league debut that same evening in a game against the Chicago White Sox. Keller entered in the bottom of the 8th inning with Chicago already up 9-1 and gave up a three-run home run to Magglio Ordóñez.[9] His one inning pitched that day proved to be the only inning he would pitch in the Major Leagues.[10]

The next day the Tigers placed Keller on the disabled list with a "strained right triceps" and on June 20 traded him to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder George Lombard.[11]

Around the minors[edit]

Atlanta assigned Keller to the Richmond Braves, their Triple-A affiliate. John Schuerholz, Atlanta's general manager, was optimistic about Keller: "We've got good reports on the guy and we think he's got the chance to give us another real power arm."[11] Keller finished out the 2002 season with Richmond, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA. At the end of the year the Braves took Keller off the 40-man roster; without a contract and concerned by the strength of Atlanta's bullpen, was granted free agency and signed with the San Diego Padres, who sent him to the Triple-A Portland Beavers. The Padres released him in May after a rough start; in 18 appearances Keller was 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA. The Cincinnati Reds signed Keller to a minor league contract, and he spent the majority of the season with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, minus a short stint with the Triple-A Louisville Bats.[12]

The Reds granted Keller free agency at the end of the year and he signed with the Chicago White Sox, who assigned him to the Double-A Birmingham Barons. At the end of May Chicago released Keller; in fifteen appearances he was 0-3 with an 8.25 ERA. The Texas Rangers picked up Keller and sent him to the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders, but after Keller posted a 7.94 ERA in fourteen appearances Texas released him as well, marking the end of his professional career.[13]


  1. ^ White, Bill (1996-04-25). "Top seniors showcased in FACA all-star games". Tampa Tribune. p. 4. 
  2. ^ Goodbread, Chase (1996-04-26). "Keller tosses no-hitter". Florida Times-Union. p. C8. 
  3. ^ "USA Today All-USA High School baseball honorable mention". USA Today. 1996-07-26. p. 9C. 
  4. ^ Goodbread, Chase (1996-05-21). "Batters, errors dominate high school all-star game". Florida Times-Union. p. C3. 
  5. ^ Goodbread, Chase (1996-06-05). "Tigers tag Keller in fourth round". Florida Times-Union. p. C5. 
  6. ^ Barney, Justin (2000-08-16). "Suns' Keller has enjoyed view from both sides of fence". Florida Times-Union. p. E5. 
  7. ^ "Former Whitecaps bound for Arizona". Grand Rapids Press. 2000-09-01. p. B6. 
  8. ^ Coleman, Pat (2002-06-25). "Rookie roundup". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  9. ^ "Buehrle first AL pitcher to eight wins". 2002-05-24. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  10. ^ "Baseball Reference Kris Keller". Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  11. ^ a b Dasher, Anthony (2002-06-20). "Atlanta resolves Lombard strain". Chattanooga Times Free Press. 
  12. ^ Elliott, Jeff (2003-08-03). "Suns' bullpen fails again; Keller shines". Florida Times-Union. p. C11. 
  13. ^ "Kris Keller Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 

External links[edit]