Last month I wrote an article detailing the importance of identifying potential holds and saves in deep dynasty leagues. I profiled Braves right handed prospect Daysbel Hernandez and the fantasy value I saw in him down the line. Today I am writing a similar article, but this time about a better known hurler. Still, some fantasy owners don’t value pitchers that are exclusively relievers as much as they should and this guy can probably be had for cheap.
Kasey Kalich was taken in the fourth round of the 2019 June draft by the Braves and was the first pitcher they selected. If you follow college baseball at all, you may have heard of Kalich as he served as a lights out closer for a good Texas A&M team. During his one year stint as an Aggie, the right hander tossed 34 innings, including postseason play, against some of the toughest competition college baseball has to offer. The Texas native posted a 3.18 ERA with 12 saves, but what was truly impressive was the whopping 13.5 K/9 he maintained.
That’s not just a flash in the pan, that is who Kalich is. The stuff is electric thanks to a nice FB/SL combo like you see from a lot of late inning relievers. The fastball lives in the high 90’s, nearing triple digits and he has the ability to wipe batters out with a nasty, hard slider. There is very little effort in the delivery which features consistent arm speed and the 6’3 righty commands his pitches pretty well, especially in the top of the zone.
Another @berrys_baseball favorite:
Kasey Kalich struck out 2 and allowed a hit in 2 innings for Rome #Braves. The 2019 4th rounder has 12 K’s and allowed 6 hits over his 9.1 career IP
It has been a seamless transition to affiliated ball for the Kalich who has now tossed 20 innings as a pro. Of course, this sample comes against Single-A hitters who shouldn’t pose much of a problem for an SEC pitcher of his pedigree. Kalich tossed two innings in the majority of his outings, typically the 8th and 9th or 7th and 8th depending on the situation, and he has struck out at least one batter every time he has taken the mound except for one single inning outing in his second appearance in Rome. He posted 1.74 ERA with 9.6 K/9. He ended up tossing 20.2 innings in 13 games for Rome this season and it will be interesting to see where Atlanta has him start the 2020 campaign. Could he still be with Rome for the 2020 South Atlantic All-Star Game in Rome?
I wouldn’t say the ceiling is astronomical for Kalich, but it is that of a shutdown closer. Still, he isn’t much of a gamble because at the very least you are going to get a late inning reliever that will contribute holds, strikeouts, a low ERA and a low WHIP. Either way, I think Kalich has a lot of value and I am certain he is going to make a pretty good career in the bigs. The only question left is whether that career will be made in the ninth inning, or earlier.