Joe Kelly is one of the most prominent voices among active players in baseball today. Love him or hate him, Kelly always has an interesting take on whatever the topic may be.
The White Sox reliever has recently increased the usage of a triple-leg kick in his delivery.
Not only does this manipulate the pitch clock to buy him some time, but it also stops other teams from being able to pick up on what he’s throwing as easily. That’s not all. Perhaps most importantly, it pisses off the opposition.
Kelly joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” to talk about his new delivery, how the pitch clock impacts it, and why he loves doing it so much.
Here’s a look at just how Kelly used different leg-kick variations against the Astros.
Kelly was called for the balk in the outing prior to that because the umpires have never seen the triple-leg kick. However, he explained that it’s a part of his mechanics, and they apologized the next day.
The right-hander has always had a bit of variation in his delivery but he has taken it to the next level this year.
“I only enhanced it because the chirping I get for it has made me really happy so now I just do it even more,” Kelly said. “With good teams right now who know how to pick pitches and if you’re tipping the way to stop tipping is to get good at it or do something different every time. I’m taking the other route. I’m doing something different every time so you physically cannot tip if you’re doing something different every single time. That’s just given me confidence to throw my pitches over the plate with hitters not knowing what’s coming.”
The chirping is fun but the triple-leg kick is beneficial with the pitch clock as well.
“It factors in a ton,” Kelly continued. “There was a pitch the other day where the pitch clock was running out and I wanted to get my fourth pitch and I kept shaking. I had leg kicked and started my mechanics still shaking, still shaking, still shaking, and then I pitched. I had time to pretty much get to the pitch I wanted mid-leg kick.”
While the Astros fans and Astros as a team chirp the most, everyone is complaining about Kelly’s delivery.
“Every team right now is chirping and saying I can’t do that and complaining and trying to call time and doing all this stuff,” Kelly said. “But hey, it’s not illegal.”
Kelly is seeing great results this season with just four earned runs allowed in 11 ⅓ innings pitched. He’s allowed just one hit while striking out 12 with no walks over 7 ⅔ innings in his last seven outings since April 30th.