Top pitching prospect Kelley out with injury

August 23rd, 2021

White Sox top pitching prospect suffered a right shoulder impingement that will force him to miss some time, but he should be able to pitch again this season, according to White Sox assistant general manager Chris Getz.

Kelley was removed in the first inning of his start with the Low-A Cannon Ballers on Sunday after recording just one out. He allowed one run on one walk over 11 pitches. This comes on the heels of Kelley’s abbreviated start on Tuesday, in which he allowed three unearned runs while walking two in just two-thirds of an inning.

Getz said Kelley’s initial checkup “was a positive one,” but that further evaluation is needed. It’s too soon to establish a timeline for when Kelley, Chicago’s 2020 second-round pick, will be back.

“We want to do some imaging to make sure everything is fine, for not only his peace of mind but ours [too],” Getz said. “But the initial was very positive in the sense that we think this is a minor shoulder impingement and [we] believe he can be back. We just certainly want to make sure we're crossing our T’s because it’s a pitcher, it’s Jared Kelley and it’s his first full season.”

In Kelley’s first pro season, which he started in the Arizona Complex League before moving to Low-A Kannapolis, he's put up a 0-7 record with a 7.61 ERA in 12 starts. The 19-year-old, ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the White Sox system according to MLB Pipeline, has accumulated 27 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings.

Getz participated in a wide-ranging conversation with reporters Monday afternoon. Here are a couple other storylines that stood out.

Top ’21 draftees making ‘seamless’ transition to pro baseball
Every ballplayer moving from an amateur level to the pro ranks is bound to have adjustments to make, and that might be even more pronounced for high schoolers. The White Sox took a pair of prep infielders in the first two rounds of the 2021 Draft -- shortstop Colson Montgomery and third baseman Wes Kath -- and Getz has seen them acclimate nicely.

It’s a plus that they’re on this journey together, too.

“Very impressive kids. They have a lot of confidence, clearly they're very talented,” Getz said. “We think having those two high school infielders grow up together is going to be a positive. Colson's been great at shortstop and Wes has been just as good at third base. Offensively, to have left-handed bats that have the potential to not only hit but have power, and envisioning them on one side of the infield in the future -- as an organization, that's very exciting.”

Montgomery vaulted to the No. 1 spot in Chicago’s prospect ranks, while Kath sits at No. 4. It’s Kath who has gotten off to the better start, though, with a .775 OPS through 11 games. Montgomery has nine hits in 11 games and a .644 OPS.

Stiever (lat) on the shelf for the rest of the season
Right-hander Jonathan Stiever, 24, had successful surgery on a lat injury on Monday and will miss the rest of the season, Getz said.

“The surgery went very well and we expect him to heal,” Getz added. “We expect him to be back to the Jonathan Stiever we're accustomed to seeing, but he will not be returning the remainder of this season.”

Stiever should be ready to go when Spring Training 2022 rolls around, as he aims to land a stable role at the Major League level. The 2018 fifth-rounder debuted with the White Sox in '20 and made one appearance this season, combining for 6 1/3 innings and a 14.21 ERA.