Confidence is a key to success in all of life's endeavors, but there's a different level of confidence that's required to be a successful pitcher in Major League Baseball.
Good news, Boston Red Sox fans, it appears that starter Joe Kelly has that confidence and then some.
The 26-year-old right-hander, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals last season along with Allen Craig in exchange for John Lackey, went on record at the Red Sox's Winter Weekend event on Friday proclaiming that he'll not only stick in Boston's starting rotation, but also will rise to the top of the American League pitching heap in 2015 and win the Cy Young Award.
Yes, that Joe Kelly. He of 17 major league appearances in 2014 with an acceptable 4.20 ERA. The same Joe Kelly's who's career 111 ERA+ in three seasons is also pretty solid, but certainly not indicative of future dominance. That's the guy we're talking about, and he wasn't shy about reiterating his confidence to all members of the Boston media.
But there it was. Kelly, unannounced, strolling over to our WEEI broadcast setup during the Red Sox' Winter Weekend at Foxwoods, grabbing one of the headsets and then letting out the words, "I want your listeners to know, I’m going to win the Cy Young this year. Just letting everyone know so when I win it you heard it here first."
After the radio interview, Kelly went upstairs to the media room and reiterated his stance to the assembled group of writers.
"Yeah, I'm going to win this year," the pitcher said when asked about his Cy Young prediction. "That's what I told the radio guys. They didn't believe me -- [stinks] to be them."
If the BBWAA votes based on confidence this season, Kelly will be a tough guy to leave off the ballot. If they go by performance, which is something we always encourage, then Kelly's going to have an uphill climb in several directions to join the ranks of Felix Hernandez and Corey Kluber as the AL's best. Then again, the same easily could have been said about Kluber at this time last season, and he ended up making the leap from mid-rotation starter to Cy Young winner.
Kluber, by the way, is two years older than Kelly, so we obviously can't rule out a breakthrough season.
It's not an impossible scenario, but, if we're being completely honest, it's a highly unlikely scenario. With that said, If these bold claims help keep Kelly focused and motivated, that would obviously be a plus for Boston. But really, all the Red Sox are looking for is steady improvement and a reason to believe Kelly is one of the best five options available. If he achieves that in 2015, he'll have done his job.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
- - - - - - -