Trevor Kelley: RHP Red Sox


 1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?

I was a freshman at UNC Chapel Hill and was discouraged by my playing time
and really didn’t feel like I was part of the team, I hated being there
pretty much but Carolina was my dream school so I had to try something that
would differentiate myself from ever other righty we had out of the
bullpen. There was about two weeks left in conference play which was maybe
just outside a month left in the season and I still had not gotten in, so
while the team was in Miami I went back home to Wilmington NC which is
about a two and a half hour drive and talked over my options with my
friends and family who have supported me and they all told me the same
thing just grind it out or something of that sort but I ended up going to
my High School and watched their team practice and at the end I asked if I
could face a few batters to get some work in and the last ten throws I
tried throwing sidearm for the first time. For some reason my high school
pitching coach had the radar gun out and I topped out at 88 mph and I know
right then and there that was my only shot at playing. As soon as Carolina
finished the game at Miami called Coach Forbes (UNC pitching coach) and
said congrats on the win and when you guys get back I have something to
show you and I think you’ll be impressed. I could tell over the phone he
was like yea ok.. So it was finally time for me to show them and I could
hardly get their attention and it seriously took one pitch and the rest was
history. The next week I made my collegiate debut against Coastal Carolina
and I was sitting 93-94 MPH. I finished my freshman year with an inning and
two thirds. But made up for it the next three years and finished 6th all
time appearance leader at Carolina.

 2. What are some of the advantages you have from your arm angle?

Having a unique/funky arm slot and delivery that I can be quick to the
plate with gives me an advantage over almost all hitters. I get a lot of
feedback from guys saying they just don’t feel comfortable facing me. I
would say I would throw my fastball 60% of the time followed by my slider
around 35% and changeup and cutter/riser 5% of the time. All of my pitches
work to my advantage because guys aren’t use to seeing sidearm guys that
work upper 80s to low 90s. I believe that location is key for sidearm guys
because if you know what your ball is doing at the play you can
automatically look at what the hitter is doing and make the proper pitch
selections. But ultimately I find most success working low in the zone or
in at the hands, and finishing the batter with a sweeping slider of a
fastball/riser up in the zone.

 3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success?

If I didn’t drop down I one hundred percent wouldn’t be where I am at now.
Dropping down was but wasn’t a last ditch effort for me, I made it to
Carolina pitching over the top so it was just the matter of time for it to
click for me and just to gain experience and it could have been elsewhere
but I knew Carolina was where I had always wanted to be, so couldn’t be
happier and grateful for everything that has happened since I dropped down.
Only regret was that I didn’t do it right when I got to Carolina.

 4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?


For me it came very natural, I played shortstop growing up and all through
high school so the arm slot of turning a double play is the best way that I
can explain to someone that is interested in becoming a sidearm pitcher.
But also when someone is just starting off I would suggested having a
forward lean or hinge at the waist to help your arm get there and then also
think about making your arm slot much lower than you want to be because
really it will still be maybe three quarter arm slot.


5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

I really have gone through this whole process by myself but I watched
countless videos of Darren O’Day of the Oriels and Joe Smith of now the
Indians to really gain a better idea of what my body needs to be doing. But
one thing I really focus on and what gets me back on track is driving my
back hip towards the plate and I say that because one I throw across my
body as if I’m throwing to the third base on deck circle and two as a side
arm pitcher I feel that I am more of an upper body pitcher, so I use the
rotation of my torso to generate movement and velocity therefore for me its
important to use that as somewhat of a check point in my mechanics. As long
I feel that I’m getting my lower half moving towards the plate I know my
release point is going to be consistent.

6. What pitches do you throw?

I throw fastball, slider, cutter, and changeup. Fastball is anywhere from
86-92 slider is anywhere from 78-83, cutter is anywhere from 84-87, and
changeup is anywhere between 80-84. Typically use cutter and changeup as
out pitches to lefties and cutters gives me something that rises and breaks
in on lefties and changeup gives me change in speed and break more like a
12-6 curveball. Fastball and slider I can locate wherever I want it in
whatever count.

 7. How do you pitch to lefties/righties?

I pitch both righties and lefties hard in and work from locating down in
the zone and working my way up in the zone to finish them off. But righties
I typically stick with throwing fastball sliders and working up-down-in-out
and lefties mixing in the cutter and changeup. Trusting the movement at the
plate is key, trying to do more has always came back to hurt me, have to
play the numbers and know that being sidearm isn’t easy to hit so just stay
low in the zone and hit your spots and make the batter feel uncomfortable
early in the count so don’t be afraid to work hard in on batters.


8. What is your favorite part about pitching from down there?

My favorite part about throwing sidearm is that I don’t get as sore, I feel
that I can be available everyday to compete and get outs. My senior year at
Carolina I made appearances in 41 of 56 games with over 90 innings not
counting games I warmed up in and was an out away from getting in. so
definitely by becoming a sidearm pitcher you can easily find yourself being
a workhorse out of the bullpen.