Keone Kela is one of the most promising young relief pitchers in the Texas Rangers organization. After a well-played 2017 season, Kela is hoping to play a lot better in 2018. While his role in the bullpen is unclear, there’s no doubt he plans to arrive at Spring Training healthy, in good shape and focused.
As we know, last season, Kela was not on the Opening Day roster. Apparently, it was in a form of punishment due to some behavioral problems. It didn’t take long for the Texas Rangers to call him up to the main roster where he came on the scene and made an impact. He went on the rest of the season without any incidents. That being said, it’s clear he learned his lesson.
This season, Keone’s biggest and most important goal is not only to pitch very well but to stay healthy. Last season, he had a stint on the disabled list due to soreness in his throwing shoulder. In 2016, Kela missed three months due to elbow surgery. Kela’s health is certainly worrisome.
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So what are we to expect from Kela in 2018? Well, first and foremost, we ought to expect him to perform well in Spring Training and avoid making the same mistake he made last year that resulted in an omission from the Opening Day roster. But again, Kela went the rest of the season without incident after getting his major-league call-up, so there’s no doubt he has no plans of misbehaving.
While it’s unclear what role he’ll earn, we can expect him to compete for the closing role with Alex Claudio. Kela had two saves last season along with eleven holds. Even he does not earn the official role of closer, it wouldn’t be surprising if he came in to close out the game every once in a while.
Our biggest expectation is for him to be himself; a good pitcher. Whether he’s a reliever or closer, he’s expected to just step on the mound and put on a performance that makes the organization and fanbase applaud. Kela just needs to be himself.