IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING! Jarred Kelenic is going to be making his major league debut Thursday for the Seattle Mariners as they return home to take on the Cleveland Indians.
We knew all along that the team was in a rough spot after the Kevin Mather incident. At the same time, it was hard to make a reasonable argument for calling up Jarred Kelenic due to the combination of his youth, inexperience playing at a high level, and the cancellation of last year’s Minor League season.
Through a handful of games at Tacoma, Kelenic was raking, and his season got off to a spectacular start when he hit not one, but two home runs on opening night. It didn’t stop there, as he has been the best hitter on the team through their first few games of the young season.
It’s perfect timing for Jarred Kelenic, as he fills a major need for the Seattle Mariners.
We know that Mitch Haniger and Kyle Lewis are good. Oddly enough, they are each hitting .258 so far on the season. It’s the third outfield spot that has been troublesome for the team. When you look at the combination of Sam Haggerty and Taylor Trammell, you see a combined BA of .173, and an OBP in the mid 240s. Neither of those is acceptable numbers.
With fans clamoring for Kelenic to come up and his service time tipping point having been reached, he won’t become eligible for free agency until 2027. It was still the right call keeping him in AAA to start the season, for a multitude of reasons. 162 games is a lot, especially for someone so young. Keeping a month’s worth of time off of his body gives him a better likelihood to make it through the season.
The team also got to see how he would do in AAA, regardless of how short of a time it was. If he struggled, they could keep him down there for a while to get him more reps before bringing him up. He played well though, so the team can play it off as wanting to give him a small taste of near Major League ready talent to go up against before calling him up.
There is one other part of this that is important to remember. The Seattle Mariners faced one of the most difficult schedules in all of baseball for the month of April. Depending on where you looked, it was somewhere between 3-5 for the most difficult. With Jarred Kelenic having little to no experience against Major League worthy players, it would be akin to throwing a toddler in the deep end and expecting them to swim.
The Mariners will be a few games shy of the 1/4 mark in their season when Jarred Kelenic makes his debut Thursday against Cleveland. Luckily, Beiber isn’t throwing until Sunday, so he gets some time to acclimate before he has to face the reigning Cy Young winner. When this season is over, Kelenic will have played around 120 games in total, which is likely a great number for someone of his age.
The Mariners will be running out a trio in the outfield of Haniger-Lewis-Kelenic for the foreseeable future. Well, at least that is what it looks like. You never know what Trader Jerry has cooking. For now, Mariners fans should rejoice as the talent continues to come up, and we all get to enjoy one of the best prospects in all of baseball in Jarred Kelenic.