Monday, March 3, 2008

What The Hell Happened To: David Kelton

And the sad part is, he HAS the ball

David Kelton is an interesting case. He's not really that far removed from the majors, and as of this post, he's 29. His story requires a full re-telling. He was a spunky young 3B just trying to make his way to the majors...

And then the Cubs happened.

See, David picked a bad time to join the Cubs. The year was 2002, and the Cubs were in need of a 3B. The Cubs were in the middle of what would become a losing season (they finished 4th), and the door was closing on players like Bill Mueller and Fred McGriff.

Enter Kelton.

The Chicago Tribune, in all of their Cubbitude, decided that a losing season meant the perfect chance to herald Kelton as the messiah. He had hit .313 at AA Tennessee a season earlier, and the Tribune was not about to report on how bad the Cubs were on a daily basis.

Kelton became "the big news." The Tribune ran articles about his progression, about how he would replace any memories of Mark Grace forever, and so on. Kelton was touted as the next big thing, and the answer to all of the Cubs' problems. After enough media coverage, people were clamoring for Kelton in 2003, even though he hadn't even had a full season in AAA.

Unfortunately for Kelton, the Cubs were in "for the love of God, win now" mode, throwing money at their problems. The All-Star Break of 2003 brought the Cubs Aramis Ramirez, and forced Kelton to learn the outfield on short notice. The Cubs brought him up by the end of 2003, but he flopped horribly in his debut.

In 2004, Kelton spent the entire year in Iowa trying to learn how to play LF. Again, Moises Alou was still filling the slot -- Kelton would have no place to play. Luckily for Kelton, he put together a great year in AAA Iowa (hitting .290), and Moises Alou got into a fight with Steve Stone on a plane and the Cubs declined to pick up his option after numerous claims of fighting with umpires.

The Tribune media blitz went into full-swing, and it was Kelton time again. With Alou gone, Kelton could show the world how he was SO GREAT and adapted from 3B to LF in just one season and how he would save the Cubs yet again. Kelton was given the keys in 2005...

...and promptly crashed into the ivy. Kelton had a Brian Anderson-esque average of .254 with an equally pathetic OBP of .254. His fielding was shoddy at best, and the whole thing turned into a disaster. The Tribune, quick with the hype machine, pronounced Matt Murton as the next savior, and the spotlight promptly left Kelton, who was unceremoniously dumped.

He was picked up by Atlanta for the 2006 season.

What the hell happened to David Kelton?

David was cut by Atlanta halfway through the 2006 season and decided to hang up his cleats. The game had not been "very very good to him" like certain ex-Cubs outfielders, and he decided that he was done with the game.

Most recently, Kelton decided to go to his wife's hometown, and was spotted at her alma mater serving as the Springwood Wildcats Heard Varsity Coach for the 2007 season.

He is still coaching to this day.


Brad said...

i appreciate your effort gepetto, but no one will take you seriously if you believe mark grace played third base.

Gepetto said...

Ugh! Good call, Ba. That's what I get for typing while half-asleep.

Lazlo said...

Ummm... David Kelton hasn't played a game in the majors since 2004, when he posted a .100 avg and .100 OBP. In 2003 he posted a .167 avg and .167 obp. He's got a total of 3 major league hits. I don't know where you are getting some of this information. Are you mixing him up with Jason Dubois, a guy who hit some in the minors but never translated it much to the majors and was ALWAYS a very weak fielding left fielder?

Lazlo said...

By the way, David Kelton was never really much of a prospect, even if, as you say, the Tribune tried to present him that way--which I can't vouch for. He has a career MINOR LEAGUE OPS of .766. Jason Dubois, the other guy competing with him for playing time in the outfield (who couldn't cut it offensively or defensively), has a career minor league OPS of .888.

Gepetto said...

Kelton's Minor League Stats:

I actually pulled some of Kelton's Total stats from her, and you're right, they don't quite add up:

Again -- typing while half asleep = fail.