Joe Kelly predicts AL Cy Young award win

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly went on the radio Saturday at the team’s Baseball Winter Weekend to let listeners know he plans on winning the American League Cy Young award next season.

He didn’t back down when asked about his prediction afterward.

“Yeah, I’m going to win this year,” Kelly said. “That’s what I told the radio guys. They didn’t believe me, so sucks to be them.”

Needless to say, the 26-year-old isn’t lacking in confidence. Traded to the Red Sox from the St. Louis Cardinals at last season's July 31 deadline, Kelly went 6-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 17 starts between the two teams. Although those numbers don’t jump off the screen, Kelly missed a good deal of time early in the season with a hamstring injury, in addition to having to adjust to the American League after being traded.

Looking forward to 2015, Kelly feels it will be a fresh start for him.

“Last year, getting hurt -- it was horrible for me,” Kelly said. “Getting hurt, I was gone for three months and then traded. I felt like I didn’t even have a season last year. It’s something that I’m looking forward to this year. Hopefully -- knock on wood -- I’ll pitch the whole year healthy and get through it and be pitching in October and not having any arm problems or any leg problems. Just go out there and kick some butt.”

Kelly certainly let his personality show Saturday in joking around with reporters while wearing a T-shirt that read “I’m not weird, I’m a pitcher.” However, he said he picks his spots when it comes to his mood and noted that on days he takes the mound, he’s a completely different person.

“I’m an angry dude when it comes to my start day,” Kelly said. “I’m trying to beat the crap out of everybody I see. I want to dominate every player, even if it’s my best friend. Those other four days, I want to be a good teammate, I want to be in the dugout, I want to be loud, I want to be cheering. ... It’s just my personality.

“But this is a fan fest. I’m having a good time. I’m having fun. I let my personality come out. But when it comes time to strap it on, I’ll punch you right in the nose before you get me, that’s for sure.”

It’s that type of bullish mentality that has Kelly believing he’ll back up the prediction. Whether you agree is your choice. But teammate Allen Craig, who came with Kelly in the trade from St. Louis to Boston, isn’t questioning him anytime soon.

“I wouldn’t bet against that guy,” Craig said.