The Seattle Mariners have seen how their playoff chances, namely the Wild Card spots, slowly get away from them.
Right now, before Wednesday’s games, they are 64-56, which isn’t bad at all considering the expectations weren’t exactly high to begin the year.
They are actually not that far from the Wild Card spots, at four games behind the second one.
The problem is that there are five teams with a realistic chance of getting two spots, and all of them are extremely competitive.
The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland Athletics join the Mariners in the quest for October via the Wild Card.
Seattle looks like the weakest of those five clubs.
The Future Is Bright In Seattle
However, even if they don’t make it this year, Seattle knows that they will be in the thick of things as soon as 2022, and that’s in large part due to one of the most promising collection of young players.
Pitchers Emerson Hancock, George Kirby, and Logan Gilbert are seen as rotation anchors, while Julio Rodriguez, Noelvi Marte, Kyle Lewis, and Evan White are the sluggers of tomorrow.
All of them, however, are led by one of the most talented young outfielders in the American League: Jarred Kelenic.
His overall slash line is rather unimpressive, at .151/.243/.280 with six homers and three stolen bases, but he is still 21 years old and adjusting to the best pitchers in the world.
Kelenic struggled mightily in his first exposure to MLB pitching, hitting .096/.185/.193 (8-for-92) with two home runs and lots of strikeouts.
The Mariners sent him to Triple-A to regain his confidence, and he started hitting again.
He dominated Triple-A pitchers before being called up the first time and after being sent down, so it’s clearly a matter of getting used to major league pitching.
He has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues.
After being called up for the second time on July 16, the lefty-hitting outfielder is batting .194/.288/.350 with four homers.
Still not ideal, but an improvement over his first showing.
Seattle Needs To Be Patient With Kelenic
Kelenic has all the looks of a player who will take a while to fully take off, but once he does, he will silence his doubters in a big way.
Jarred Kelenic with absurd rookie power to left field. Just hammers a first pitch fastball for the oppo solo bomb. 384 feet …. damn
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 15, 2021
His batting average on balls in play, or BABIP, suggests he has been extremely unlucky.
He has a .177 BABIP, when the league average is close to .300.
He doesn’t hit too many liners and his hard-hit rate isn’t particularly high at 36.9 percent, but even considering those things, his BABIP is unsustainably low and should increase going forward, taking his batting average up in the process.
He is still striking out too much, but his tools and minor league success suggest that he will likely make adjustments eventually.
He is a good fielder who can cover the three outfield positions, is fast, and has good knowledge of the strike zone.
Jarred Kelenic hustle double sprint speed: 28.4 ft/sec
MLB avg = 27 ft/sec
Elite = 30 ft/sec
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) August 12, 2021
He just needs to build confidence and be more aggressive at the plate, where he often lets hittable strikes go by.
He may not bust out this year, but Jarred Kelenic remains the hope of the Mariners’ fanbase.NEXT: Mariners Slowly Starting To Fade In Wild Card Hunt