Currently ranked as MLB Pipeline’s number 4 prospect, the center fielder has a powerful swing that can make him a 25-homer guy someday, probably as soon as he is called up.
He is also speedy, as his 20 stolen bases in 2019 can attest, and can play an adequate center field.
The Mariners were recently criticized as their former president Kevin Mather explicitly said that Kelenic wouldn’t start the season with the big league team in order for the team to gain an additional year of control over the outfielder.
That, and the fact that he suffered a Grade 2 strain of the adductor muscle in his left knee last week, will likely push back his MLB debut to late April or early May.
MRI reveals adductor strain for M's Jarred Kelenic https://t.co/SbsPVXgIWv
— NBC Sports EDGE Baseball (@NBCSEdgeBB) March 6, 2021
Even so, Kelenic has the potential to make a significant impact as soon as he puts his feet in a Major League field.
Just how good can he be?
Jarred Kelenic Has Prospect Pedigree And Numbers To Back It Up
MLB Pipeline says that Kelenic “makes consistently hard contact and drives the ball to all fields” and that he “routinely found the seats in alternate camp as well, especially to his pull side, all with an advanced approach that includes limiting strikeouts and a willingness to draw walks.”
He has a strong arm and enough speed to grade “plus”, and is considered a “future All-Star.”
During his last full season in the Mariners system, which came in 2019, Kelenic started in Class-A, then was promoted to Class A-Advanced and finished the season in Double-A.
In 21 games and 92 plate appearances at Double-A, Kelenic hit .253/.315/.542 with six homers and three stolen bases.
Adding up the whole three levels, the talented outfielder hit 23 dingers and stole 20 bases in 2019.
Last year, he didn’t receive a call-up, mainly because the Mariners didn’t want to start his playing time clock.
However, Kelenic was, and is, ready to hit MLB pitching.
2021 Outlook For Kelenic
For now, he will presumably let his injury heal and then take some at-bats and reps on the team’s alternate training site, with an eye on a promotion by early May at the latest.
He was having a very good spring in the early going, including this home run:
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) March 3, 2021
Whenever he gets his chance, Kelenic could challenge for the American League Rookie of the Year award.
If the Mariners have an everyday spot for him in the lineup, he could potentially hit 15 homers and steal 15 bases and play adequate defense in the outfield.
However, if he makes a smooth transition and plays up to his capabilities from day one, Kelenic has the potential to be one of the most exciting outfielders in the American League and the best offensive player in the Mariners, which isn’t too shabby considering that they have reigning AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, outfielder Mitch Haniger, and others.
The future is now for the Mariners, who have an up-and-coming rotation and some interesting pieces in the minors, including fellow outfielder Julio Rodriguez.
And Jarred Kelenic is a big part of that bright future.