Posted: 10:08 pm Monday, June 6th, 2011
By Matt Porter
Updated Tuesday 3:03 p.m. | The first Palm Beach County player picked in the 2011 MLB Draft, West Boca Raton pitcher Michael Kelly was selected in the first round (48 overall, compensatory round) by the San Diego Padres.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Kelly said, noting that his Boynton Beach home went “a little crazy” when his name was called. “It’s a really good feeling. It’s an honor to go in the top 50 picks.”
Kelly, who committed to Florida before his junior year, hasn’t decided whether he will join the Gators or turn pro.
“We’ll see,” he said, when asked if he would turn pro. “I haven’t necessarily thought about it.”
Jason Wood, of Arland Sports, advises Kelly and Santaluces pitcher Kyle Smith, who was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the fourth round (126th overall). Wood said Tuesday he expected both to join the Gators rather than turn pro.
Wood said Kelly, who was projected to go anywhere from the low 40s to the 60s, likely wouldn’t be swayed to trade his UF scholarship for a MLB signing bonus.
“I honestly think he fell too far to get a deal done,” Wood said. “I know he has a very, very strong college commitment.”
“It’s a compliment to go as high as he did. The Padres are a great organization, and he’s honored to be drafted.”
“If the Padres know what they’ve got, I sure hope they’d offer him whatever it takes to get him signed,” said former West Boca Raton coach Brian Joros, who coached Kelly from his freshman to junior seasons. “That’s a heck of a steal.”
With his mid-90s fastball and slurve as his two power pitches, Kelly went 10-1 with a 1.81 ERA and five shutouts, pitching West Boca to its first state championship.
He is seen as a high-ceiling prospect. At 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds, Kelly has plenty of room to fill out. According to scouts, he’s inconsistent in using his body for maximum power, and his control needs improvement.
Kelly was a first-team Post All-Area selection the last two seasons and a preseason Baseball America All-American. He will play this summer with the La Ley Legends, a Homestead-based travel team.
“I can’t describe it,” Kelly said of being drafted. “It’s an honor, is all I can think of to say.”
Here’s scouting video on Kelly from MLB.com: