The Seattle Mariners have been patiently waiting on one-time heralded prospect Jarred Kelenic for a few years now. If this spring training is a sign of things to come, he may be about ready to arrive.
Kelenic was the player Seattle craved as part of its multi-faceted return from the New York Mets in a deal that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to Gotham City. But Kelenic has struggled mightily in his two major league appearances to date.
Kelenic, still just 24, has torn up the minor leagues since the Mets made him the No. 6 pick of the 2018 draft. In four minor league campaigns, he hit .295 with 56 home runs and 203 RBIs.
However, in 147 big league games over 2021 and 2022, he hit just .168 with 21 home runs and an eye-popping 167 strikeouts.
But all that may be about to change. Through 11 spring training games, facing better pitching as March rolls along, Kelenic is hitting .448 with four home runs and nine RBIs – as well as just six strikeouts. He is hitting 115 points better than the next Seattle Mariners spring regular.
Could it be that Kelenic has figured it out? Mariners fans certainly have their hopes up.
Kelenic has never given Mariners fans a reason to get down on him despite his monumental major league struggles. He plays hard, doesn’t pout or lash out. He’s the type of player fans want to root for, and many hope that he gives them the chance to do exactly that.
Kelenic currently slots in as the Seattle Mariners’ opening day left fielder, according to Fangraphs. Seattle has a fearsome lineup, and if Kelenic is able to pull his weight offensively, it’ll certainly help the Mariners challenge the Houston Astros for American League Western Division superiority.
Of course, not all Mariners fans are on board. Kelenic has turned in some good spring training performances before. But previous springs don’t hold a candle to what the outfielder is doing this March.
Hard-hitting Kelenic would be a boon for Seattle Mariners
Many Seattle Mariners fans were disgruntled over the offseason as the team didn’t delve hard into free agency. However, the team did trade for slugging right fielder Teoscar Hernandez in November.
If Kelenic’s hitting comes up to snuff in 2023, the Mariners have a potentially gifted hitting outfield of Kelenic, Hernandez and budding superstar Julio Rodriguez that would be the eny of many teams in the league.