Seattle Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic isn’t the next Dustin Ackley

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 29: Dustin Ackley #13 of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 29: Dustin Ackley #13 of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
Jarred Kelenic of the Seattle Mariners celebrates.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – MAY 14: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after his two-run home run. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

I don’t know about you, but I hate when Seattle Mariners fans compare Jarred Kelenic to Dustin Ackley, who is deemed one of the biggest draft busts in Mariners history. Kelenic is one of the most highly touted prospects in the MLB and he has struggled very badly in his first year in the big leagues, but is it fair to compare him to Ackley?

For me, there are plenty of reasons why Jarred Kelenic isn’t the next Dustin Ackley but I am going to keep this rant short and simple.

Update: Jarred Kelenic was just sent down to Triple-A Tacoma.

Why do Seattle Mariners fans like to be such “Debbie Downers?” about Jarred Kelenic

I acknowledge that it has been painful to be a Seattle Mariners fan but if you truly love the M’s, why wouldn’t you be positive about this wave of young talent? I feel like there is a lot of negativity around our prospects, especially towards Jarred Kelenic.

Obviously, I am not happy with the young outfielders’ performance, especially because I have him on my fantasy team, but did you not expect him to struggle a bit? Taylor Trammell had his flashes of brilliance during his first stint in Seattle but he struggled overall. Logan Gilbert struggled in his first couple of starts but has looked great since then.

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Plenty of other current stars struggled in their first year in the bigs. Mike Trout, who the Seattle Mariners missed out on in the 2009 draft even struggled during his first stint with the Angels. Look how that turned out…

I do agree that it’s important to keep a close eye on prospects because busts do exist, especially in the Seattle Mariners, but it is so so so so early. I can’t express how early it is to assess whether Jarred Kelenic will be a star or a role player in the future.

Remember, Kelenic is just 21, and will turn 22 in July. What were you doing when you were 21? Probably not trying to hit 95mph fastballs and big leagues off-speed pitches… (If you were, you should join us on the podcast!)

One might forget that Dustin Ackley actually played well in his rookie season

I also find it funny that people are describing Jarred Kelenic as “Dustin Ackley 2.0” because the former second overall pick actually played very well in his rookie season in 2011. In his first 12 games, he hit .300 with a .953 OPS.

In his next 24 months during July, he hit .308 with a .876 OPS. Ackley finished the season with a .273 batting average, .766 OPS, and six home runs as a 23-year-old. Also, Dustin Ackley was a college draftee so he was a lot more (should have been) polished when he arrived in the big leagues.

Also, I think there is one key difference between Dustin Ackley and Jarred Kelenic. There was some concern for Ackley’s swing and mechanics, despite his successful career at UNC. His unorthodox swing eventually caught up to him, which played a huge part in his downfall. Some players have succeeded with Ackley’s type of mechanics (Cody Bellinger), but in my opinion, it’s rare to see success.

Jarred Kelenic on the other hand has a much more repeatable swing which shouldn’t need a huge shift in mechanics. That is why I am confident in him and every single Seattle Mariners fan should be rooting for him.

As I said, it angers me to read people comparing Kelenic to Ackley. Why is that the first thing that pops up in your mind? Do you want Jarred Kelenic to struggle and be a bust? Do you hate the Seattle Mariners?

Even if you are joking, is it a good joke? Maybe the Mariners aren’t cursed, maybe the fanbase is toxic. As a fanbase, we should be rooting for Kelenic and giving him all the support possible. He is frickin 21-years-old and any negativity towards him doesn’t do the fanbase any good.

Thanks for reading my Ted Talk. I am hoping for an impressive comeback from Jarred Kelenic soon.

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