Ty KellyAt the beginning of spring training, Ty Kelly had a legitimate chance of making the Mets roster as either a fifth outfielder or third baseman.  A strong showing in camp could have made a strong case for him being with the team; instead, he opted to play for team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.  While the experience of playing in an international tournament may be a special and exciting experience a player on the fringe of making a major-league roster may have been better served by participating in a major-league camp.

As a rookie in 2016 Kelly hit .241 with one home run and seven RBI in 58 at bats.  While these are not stellar stats he still flashed some potential to produce as a part-time player.  The Mets entered the spring with a very crowded outfield, so the chances of him catching on there would be slim.  Third base, on the other hand, could have been a very real possibility to pick up some playing with the likely extended absence of David Wright.

In six games for Israel, Kelly had five hits in 24 at-bats with no home runs or RBI.  He had a .321 OBP, while a decent showing the time he missed from major league camp will be sorely missed. He will most likely start the season atTriple-AA hoping for a call-up.

While Kelly was off playing in the tournament another young Mets player fighting for a roster spot was in camp getting at-bats and making noise that player is Michael Conforto.  With the way, the roster shook out after the offseason, he was the odd man out.  Instead of pouting about likely starting the season in the minors, he worked out over the offseason and came into camp looking trimmer than last season.

He has hit his way into the conversation in a big way.  So far, this spring he has hit .356 with two home runs and four RBI in 45 at bats.  He has also been solid defensively and has flashed an accurate arm in the outfield.  He has all but secured a roster spot in the eyes of most Mets fans.  Though management could say he needs to play atTriple -A to get regular at-bats, he has proven he has nothing left to learn at that level.

The Mets should be able to give veterans enough days off to secure Conforto at least four starts a week in the outfield.  He has also been doing some work at first to give him another possible avenue to gain some at-bats.

While playing in the World Baseball Classic may seem like an enticing opportunity for young players, they are probably better off staying in camp and gaining more valuable experience.  It is better suited for veteran players, though I would prefer star players on the Mets to skip it altogether to avoid possible injuries.

17 comments on “Did Ty Kelly hurt his chances of making the Mets?

  • Neal

    Ty Kelly was released by the mets.

  • holmer

    Much ado about nothing. He is not on the 40 man roster and there are other players who are on the roster, therefore not needing to clear a roster spot for Kelly, who can do what he does-namely TJ Rivera. Did Seth Lugo, another marginal player, hurt his chances by playng in the WBC? I don’t think so. Come up with something else to fill the space please.

    • Brian Joura

      Just because they both played in the WBC doesn’t mean the situations were identical.

  • Popeye


  • Metsense

    This was a tough choice for Kelly. He was a non roster player with Conforto and Nimmo ahead of him in the outfield and TJ Rivera and Cecchini ahead of him in the infield and the realization that the Mets had already discarded him once. He needed a big stage like the WBC,and do well on it, in order to hang onto the hope of a big league career somewhere. I like Kelly and he may get another big league chance but I feel his opportunity to be a Met to be slim to none.His mistake was not changing organizations when he had the chance last winter.

    • Brian Joura

      The one advantage that Kelly has going for him is that he has experience in both the infield and outfield. Mets seemingly don’t want Conforto in the majors if he wasn’t playing every day. Travis Taijeron has 37 ABs so far this Spring, a lot of those could have gone to Kelly if he was around.

      And not being on the roster is potentially fixed with a 60-day DL trip for Wright. Mets have no interest in Cecchini at 3B so if Wright was out, it would be Kelly vs. Rivera. With Rivera away, too, 33 ABs went to Phillip Evans.

      Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on 40-50 ST at-bats but when you’re on the outside looking in, it just seems a mistake to miss potential face time with the boss.

      • Mike Koehler

        IMHO, there were too many cons and not enough pros even if he stayed. Taijeron has been on the verge of a ML callup, Evans has looked good on defense and Kelly was never much of a hitter in the big league.

        At least he got the experience of traveling around the world and the playoff atmosphere of the WBC. He may end up playing in another country some day.

      • Jimmy P

        I think Terry likes him, and I think Terry identifies with the scrappy utility type.

        I’ve mentioned this before, but he PH in the WC game and got a hit. Those things make an impression on a manager.

        The LH bat off the bench is a big plus for a manager who believes in playing the platoon advantage.

        If it’s my call, he makes the team.

  • Jimmy P

    Some reports suggest that Conforto goes to AAA, plays CF, and extends his eligibility for another season of team control if he’s down there 55 days or something like that.

    I still maintain that Kelly is a guy you wouldn’t mind if he rots in the bench. And also, the only LH bat on bench. Positional flexibility. All pluses in his favor.

  • Eraff

    Not a Ty Kelly Fan….The Ballplayer.

    His release provides an opportunity to find an mlb offer–otherwise, I predict he re-joins the Met’s org.

    • Brian Joura

      Mets removed Kelly from the 40-man over the winter. Although not on the 40-man, Kelly is still in the Mets’ org and can be re-added at any point the club desires.

      • Jimmy P

        The “released” was bum wording by a guy named Neal.

        We are talking about the last guy on the bench.

        I’d prefer Kelly Johnson — he’d complement LHP mashers Flores/Reyes — but, again, he’s the last guy on the bench. Not going to be somebody that we love. And really shouldn’t be.

        • Metsense

          Kelly Johnson is a free agent and still unsigned so “if” Conforto starts the year in AAA then KJ should be signed as 25th man and let Ricky Knapp, the most likely to be traded, have some piece of mind.

  • Name

    For Kelly, the thrill of suiting up for Israel was comparable to fulfilling his lifelong dream when he was called up to the big leagues last year after eight seasons in the minors. He said an emotional Friday night visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, where worshippers were dancing and praying, had the kind of energy and atmosphere that Americans can only see at sporting events.

    “I feel like I should do more. I feel like I need to study as much as I can and stay connected as much as possible,” said Kelly, 28. “I want to have as much depth in this as possible and not just something where I go play baseball for a tournament and it means nothing else.
    Also, for someone like Kelly, the prize money from playing matters. According to a Ken Rosenthal article from 2013, in 09 the winning club got about 90k ea and the US players got 22k for making the semis. In 2013, the winning club was expected to get 120k.
    One can guess that just playing in the 1st round he was probably going to get at least 10-15k. For making the semis, he might get as much as 40-50k, depending on final ticket sales and revenue. Even though he made 200-250k last year for his time in the majors, he’s probably never sniffed more than 30-40k a year prior to that.

  • Michael Ryan

    I did not realize players got prize money for playing in the WBC still think he would have benefited more from spring training.


    Ty Kelly cleared waivers and was out righted to Vegas. He was not released.

    Fake news!

  • Name

    And in the end Kelly makes the roster. But he’ll probably rack up a ton of frequent flier miles this year riding the shuttle.

    His inclusion is justified, but i wonder if there was some sort of internal memo sent out to teams that if there’s a close decision, choose guys who went to the WBC so future fringe players don’t skip out because they think it’ll hurt their chances in making the opening day roster.

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