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Keone Cole Kela (born April 16, 1993) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Texas Rangers.

Keone Kela
20150701-0552 Keone Kela.jpg
Kela with the Texas Rangers
Pittsburgh Pirates – No. 35
Born: (1993-04-16) April 16, 1993 (age 26)
Los Angeles, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 7, 2015, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
(through 2019 season)
Win–loss record21–11
Earned run average3.23

Early lifeEdit

Kela attended Carson Senior High School in Carson, California, and graduated from Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, Washington.[1] He was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the 29th round of the 2011 MLB draft, but did not sign and enrolled at Everett Community College,[2] where he played college baseball as a center fielder for one season.[3]


Texas RangersEdit

The Texas Rangers selected Kela as a pitcher in the 12th round, with the 396th overall selection, of the 2012 MLB draft.[2][3] Kela signed with the Rangers following the draft.[4]

In 2013, Kela reached the Class A South Atlantic League.[5] He started the 2014 season in Class A-Advanced, and was promoted to the Frisco RoughRiders of the Class AA Texas League.[4] The Rangers invited Kela to spring training in 2015.[6] Kela made the Rangers' Opening Day roster.[7] He collected his first career win against the Oakland Athletics on May 2, 2015. Kela finished his 2015 season with a 2.39 earned run average (ERA). He had elbow surgery and missed three months of the 2016 season. He pitched to a 5-1 record with a 6.09 ERA in 35 games in 2016.[8][9]

After he showed an unprofessional lack of effort in a minor league intrasquad game, the Rangers decided to option Kela to the Round Rock Express of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League for the start of the 2017 season.[10][11] He made 39 appearances for the Rangers in 2017, missing time with a stiff right shoulder.[3] After the 2017 season, Kela underwent stem-cell therapy to treat his right shoulder.[12] Kela became the Rangers closer in 2018.[13]

Pittsburgh PiratesEdit

On July 31, 2018, the Rangers traded Kela to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Taylor Hearn and Sherten Apostel.[14]

In an April 7, 2019 game against the Cincinnati Reds, Kela was ejected after his role in a bench clearing incident involving Chris Archer, Derek Dietrich, Yasiel Puig, Amir Garrett, David Bell, and Felipe Vázquez. On July 30, 2019, Kela was involved in a second bench-clearing francas against the Reds, and was suspended for 10 games on August 1.


When Kela was born, his mother was only 16 years old, and his father was just 15 years old.[15] Though Kela was born in Los Angeles, much of his father's family is from Hawaii. His grandparents are from Keaukaha on the Big Island, where Kela spent each summer, enjoying Puhi Bay and Hilo.[16]


  1. ^ "Keone Kela goes from Seattle-area high schools to living the dream of playing in the big leagues". The Seattle Times. April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Chief Sealth graduate Keone Kela picked by Texas Rangers in 2012 Baseball Draft | West Seattle Herald / White Center News". June 6, 2012. Archived from the original on April 5, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c A-J Media (January 25, 2018). "Rangers' Keone Kela aims for healthy, productive season | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". Lubbock Online. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Davison, Drew (May 10, 2014). "Keone Kela is driven to be Texas Rangers' future closer". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  5. ^ "Texas Rangers prospect continues streak in Venezuela | Dallas Morning News". January 12, 2014. Archived from the original on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Grant, Evan (March 19, 2015). "Grant: The future appears bright for the Rangers, but is it close?". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  7. ^ "Rookies DeShields Jr., Kela add youth, speed to Rangers' roster". star-telegram. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  8. ^ "Rangers demote Kela to preserve clubhouse chemistry". Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  9. ^ T.R. Sullivan (January 20, 2016). "Rangers rely on Keone Kela, Tanner Scheppers". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "Sources: Players support Rangers' decision to ship out Kela". Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  11. ^ "Source of Keone Kela's surprise demotion revealed; what is the edgy reliever's future with Rangers? - SportsDay". Dallas Morning News. April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  12. ^ "Texas Rangers: Stem-cell therapy has taken a weight off Keone Kela's shoulder | SportsDay". Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Pirates acquire reliever Keone Kela". July 31, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  15. ^ "Minor league Insider: Young life lessons help Frisco pitcher mature". star-telegram. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "Hilo gains another face in the show". Hawaii Tribune-Herald. August 3, 2012. Archived from the original on December 10, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2014.

External linksEdit