The 2022 Rule 5 draft will occur on December 7. That is the final day of winter meetings. It has been over five years since the Brewers last selected a player in the draft. However, there is one intriguing option that is eligible to be drafted. That is left-handed pitcher Antoine Kelly, who formerly was a prospect in their organization.
Kelly was traded to the Texas Rangers at last year’s trade deadline. Mark Mathias was also involved in the trade in which the Brewers received Matt Bush in return. At the time, Kelly was having a tremendous season for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. However, knowing that he was going to be Rule 5 draft eligible at seasons end, Brewers upper management decided to include him in the deal.
Does Antoine Kelly have a chance of being selected in this year’s Rule 5 draft?
2022 was Kelly’s first healthy season since 2019. His 2020 season was lost due to COVID-19. During his time at the Brewers training site in 2020 he developed symptoms consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome. Eventually he underwent surgery to address this. He did pitch briefly towards the tail end of the 2021 season, but it was a very small sample size.
At full strength, Kelly’s velocity and ability to strikeout batters returned in 2022. Overall he pitched 109 innings and struck out 143 batters. After being traded, he struggled at the Rangers Double-A affiliate.
Kelly has not pitched higher than the Double-A level. He did log just 18 innings at that level in 2022. Knowing this, it seems unlikely that any team will select Kelly in this year’s Rule 5 draft. Nonetheless anything can happen, so he will be one name to listen for during the draft.