We’ve all been thinking about it. As Seattle Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic has been mired an 0 for 38 slump over the last month, it’s crossed everyone’s mind that the bright young outfielder needs to be sent down to AAA to re-establish some confidence. And at this point, there’s no benefit in keeping him up in Seattle right now.
First and foremost, it’s important to note this story isn’t being written in a state of panic. We’re not buying into the popular narrative of “he’s the next Dustin Ackley” or “just another Mariner prospect bust.” No, this is simply a tremendously talented kid who ran into some bad luck in his first couple weeks, and then lost some confidence and found himself guessing far too often at the plate.
It’s not like Kelenic all of a sudden forgot how to hit. Baseball can be a cruel game, and hitting MLB pitching is an incredibly difficult task.
The Seattle Mariners ultimately have to make the tough decision and send Jarred Kelenic down to Tacoma
Sure, Kelenic’s first 22 games have been disappointing. The hope was that Kelenic would come up, and immediately set the world on fire. But that doesn’t always happen. Mike Trout hit .220 his first year in the bigs. Aaron Judge hit .179. It isn’t easy to adjust to the major leagues.
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But that all being said, the Seattle Mariners need to send Kelenic down. The team clearly hoped he would work his way through this and figure it out, but that’s not happening right now. He needs a reset, both mentally and at the plate. Let him go to Tacoma, take a step back, and regain the confidence that he needs to succeed.
Look at what it did for Taylor Trammell, who is 5 for 20 since returning from Tacoma. Hitting .250 isn’t necessarily something to be jumping for joy about, but Trammell looks more comfortable at the plate. There’s no reason Kelenic won’t have the same result if he gets a stint back in Tacoma.
And when Jarred Kelenic comes back up, he should stay lower in the lineup. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that hitting at the top of the order amplified Kelenic’s struggles. There’s tremendous pressure to hit leadoff in the bigs, and at this point, he’d be better suited to hit in the seven or eight hole. Besides, J.P. Crawford is hitting way too well to move out of the leadoff spot.
At the end of the day, Jarred Kelenic is probably going to be fine. Nothing of course is for certain, but a tough 22 games doesn’t automatically kill his status as a top prospect. Nor does it change the fact that he’s still an integral part of the Seattle Mariners future. He just simply needs a little reset to get his head right so that when the team does call him up again, he’s ready.
But for right now, the best thing for him would be if the organization decides to send him down to Tacoma for a few weeks.