He hit .370/.414/.630 with two homers, two steals, and a 157 wRC+ in 29 Triple-A plate appearances before the Mariners promoted him to the bigs.
However, he has been extremely bad, batting .096/.185/.193 with two home runs, three steals, and a 14 wRC+ in 92 plate appearances.
The Seattle #Mariners send prized prospect Jarred Kelenic back to Triple-A Tacoma after hitting .096 with 26 strikeouts in 23 games.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 7, 2021
Overall, he had only eight hits in more than 80 at-bats in the bigs and was hitless in his last 39 at-bats.
The Mariners had no choice but to send him down again in an attempt to get him going again and regain his confidence.
Kelenic actually took more walks in the bigs (8.7 BB percentage) than in Triple-A (6.9 percent).
However, he struck out a lot more in MLB (28.3 K percentage) compared to a 17.2 K percentage in Triple-A.
His 64.5 Z-Swing (percentage of pitches a batter swings at inside the strike zone) ranked, before Monday’s games, 247th out of 314 hitters with at least 90 plate appearances.
The passivity should be corrected with more experience.
So, is there hope for Kelenic?
Here are three reasons Mariners fans should not panic about him.
3. He Is Extremely Young!
A lot of people tend to forget that for all his highs and lows, Kelenic is still 21 years old.
Most 21-year-old prospects are either in college or still in High-A or Double-A.
Hitting a baseball is not easy, and the jump from Triple-A to the bigs is especially difficult for young players.
If anything, Kelenic should be afforded some time since he arrived in the majors at such a young age.
More Dipoto on Kelenic: "This isn't a failure. This is Jarred had his first opportunity, and we feel like the right thing to do for him is just to give him a chance to go find the barrel … have good at bats, hit the ball hard, get back to being Jarred Kelenic."
— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) June 8, 2021
It would a huge mistake to label him as a failure because he is too young for that.
2. Prospect Development Is Not Linear
Besides his age, we should also consider that prospect development is not a perfect science.
If every player would spend a year at every minor league level and then receive a call-up to the bigs and dominate, baseball would be extremely predictable and boring.
The development of a young player is not linear, and the fact he dominated at Double-A and Triple-A doesn’t necessarily mean he will do the same the minute he gets to the majors.
Kelenic is proof of this.
Some prospects need to hit the reset button and pick up the pieces of their confidence in themselves in the minors after struggling in the majors.
Others jump from Double-A to the bigs and play well the rest of their careers, like Juan Soto.
Kelenic will probably be fine, but he needs some patience.
1. Talent Usually Wins Out
Kelenic has a compact swing that generates lots of power and hard contact.
He is speedy enough to steal between 20 and 30 bases annually in the bigs.
He can also draw a walk, and while he will strike out, his overall offensive production will probably offset that somewhat.
He is athletic, and while he is not considered a future Gold Glover, he is good enough to play center field, a premium position, in the bigs.
These traits should eventually find their way into MLB diamonds and be translated into production.
It’s not always the case, but talent usually wins out.
When this talent is combined with a very good work ethic, good things eventually happen, so Mariners fans should not be too worried about Kelenic.