When we briefly discussed the Shawn Kelley acquisition in days of yore, we discussed his penchant for inducing strikeouts while noting concerns about his susceptibility for surrendering home runs. To date in 2013, Kelley has indeed shown the ability to miss bats and has posted a K/9 of over 15. In fact, his K/9 is the 3RD-HIGHEST among all MLB relievers. Very impressive.

However, he’s also been unafraid of giving up the long ball and a quarter of his flyballs have left the park, leading to an unsightly ERA over 5. But is this the real Shawn Kelley? The peripheral statistics say otherwise.

Kelley’s xFIP currently resides at a very attractive 1.92 which indicates he is pitching quite a bit better than his ERA indicates. Not only is Kelley’s xFIP sparkling, the difference between his ERA and his xFIP (a further measure of his luck) is currently the 6th-highest in MLB among relievers with at least 10 IP to date (217 total in the sample). This means that by one metric, Kelley is in the top 10 most unlucky pitchers in baseball.

The HRs are always going to be a concern, but it’s likely that with some increased usage, Kelley’s traditional counting stats will normalize and allow him to continue to be an attractive cog in the bullpen.