Jarred Kelenic and Mike Piazza
Jarred Kelenic: Projected Rookie Stats: .288/.361/.556, 25 HR, 22 SB, 84 RBI, 80 R
Mike Piazza: 16 years, 10 Silver Sluggers, 12-time All-Star, .308/.377/.545, 344 2b, 427 HR, 1335 RBI, 1048 Runs, 17 SB, 66.4 oWAR, 1.5 dWAR, 59.6 WAR (125th all-time, 5th among catchers)
Good luck on passing Piazza. If Jarred Kelenic is able to, then we have a Hall of Famer on our hands. He likely won’t pass Piazza’s stats during his first five full seasons as a Dodger. Check this average season stat line out.
.337/.401/.583, 21 2B, 33 HR, 105 RBI, ROY, five Silver Sluggers, and top ten MVP in each season.
His rookie year? .318/.370/.561, 35 HR, 112 RBI, 81 R, All-Star, and Silver Slugger. 7.0 WAR
It’s almost unheard of to see someone put up numbers like that to start their career. Especially as a catcher. Going into this, we all knew that this was going to be the hardest guy to beat. Luckily, it looks like we are putting our top prospect up against him.
What kind of numbers would Jarred Kelenic need to put up, not just as a rookie, but overall to beat Piazza? By WAR, Piazza put together an all-time rookie season. Aaron Judge (7.9), Mike Trout (10.5!!!), and Ichiro Suzuki (7.7) are the only ones to better that WAR number since Piazza in 1993, in either league.
Jarred Kelenic would need to play above-average defense, and approach a .300 30/30 statline to get into the range. Judge hit about .280 with over 50 homers, leading the league in runs. Trout led the league in runs (129) and steals (49) while hitting .326 with 30 homers. Ichiro led the league at .350, with 56 steals and 242 hits.
The more realistic option is having a long and consistent career to get past Piazza. This is where he could actually pass Piazza’s WAR of 59.6. Could we see a career like Gary Sheffield? A mix of power and steals, with a good average to boot? If the speed is real, it’s not hard to imagine a lot of borderline 20-20 seasons, with an average in the higher 200s. Again, this would project Jarred Kelenic on a Hall of Fame path; the tools and athleticism are there.
20/20, .275/.340/.510, 80 R, 80 RBI, and slightly above-average defense. Doing that for a lengthy career, somewhere around 13-15 years, would get him past Piazza. Possible? Yes. Likely… I don’t think so. Then again, Kelenic might be up before we know it, meaning he only needs to play into his mid-’30s instead of late-’30s. I’d say only a 15% chance Jarred Kelenic passes Piazza.