Don’t Forget About Jarred Kelenic, Mariners Phenom

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 02: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 02: Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Seattle Mariners have one of the best farm systems in baseball. They have had several highly regarded prospects in the last few years make their way to the big leagues. Evan White, Kyle Lewis, and Logan Gilbert have all been considered to be top 100 prospects in baseball by various outlets. They have also had varying degrees of success. The best Mariners prospect to make it to the big leagues is Jarred Kelenic, and people have started to forget about him already.

Jarred Kelenic was considered to be a top 5 prospect in baseball before the 2021 season. He had all sorts of buzz around him. People were even predicting him to as a rookie of the year candidate. Kevin Mather made even more headlines for the youngster by talking about the club holding him back for more years of club control. Spring Training was shaping up to be a showcase of his talents.

Jarred Kelenic seemed primed for a breakthrough into the majors

Jarred Kelenic did not disappoint either as he hit .300 in Spring Training games with a 1.140 OPS. These numbers wowed fans and it hinted that he could be ready for the big leagues. However, the team chose to keep him down there for extended minor league games and let him start the year in Tacoma. He played 7 games in AAA, shining by hitting two home runs in his first AAA game. Fans were clamoring for him, and he got the call up to the majors on May 13.

Kelenic showed signs of being ready for the big leagues, he had succeeded everywhere he had ever been. He did not find that continued in the bigs. He struggled and was sent back down to Tacoma after a long hitless streak. He was able to work through some things in Tacoma, and was able to return to the Mariners after regaining confidence and after showing he was hitting again. He rejoined the team after the all-star break and slowly but steadily improved.

Kelenic did not totally hit his stride last year until the final stretch of the season, where he finally showed consistency. In September and October, Kelenic had a slash line of .248/.331/.524. That was good for a .854 OPS and a 135 wRC+. This was his best month by far and he posted some very good numbers that most fans didn’t see.

Those final 29 games he posted the above-average numbers were a taste of what Jarred Kelenic can truly be. He started to be more patient, have a better approach, and overall just looked comfortable. He looked like the player we had all heard about crushing minor league pitching. The numbers were sneaky good, and if he had put those numbers up over the entirety of his rookie year, he would have been receiving the same attention that he was getting before the season.

Now, why have people forgotten about Kelenic and the numbers he put up in September? Maybe it’s because the team was so good and they were so close to the playoffs. If this was the Mariners of old and they ended up with far fewer than 90 wins, the attention would all be on Kelenic and what he would be able to do next year.

Now, Jarred Kelenic is not at the forefront of Mariners fans’ minds this offseason, it has been about the signing of Robbie Ray and their pursuit of other free agents.

Jarred Kelenic has lost a little shine as well because of Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez has become even more of a prominent figure in Seattle, as he has been widely regarded as a top-three prospect himself. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Kelenic was a top-five prospect, one that everyone in the industry said would be a star. Fans have forgotten the fact that Kelenic got super jacked during quarantine, and is now one of the strongest Mariners.

Kelenic hit 14 home runs in just under 350 at-bats. That is a large number and he showed off the power that he developed even more as he has gotten bigger and stronger. You can even check out each and every one of those home runs.

Jarred Kelenic has more upside than anyone on the Mariners roster with the chance to be an absolute monster. Kelenic is one of the most special players in baseball. He has a very sound swing that many prospect evaluators say will be above average. had a 65 grade on his hit tool last year, as well as a 60 power grade. Those two grades may be flipped now as he has gotten much larger and stronger, but he should be able to hit and hit for power for years to come.

The bat is the most special thing about Jarred Kelenic, and it is not only his power. He has talked about his approach to try to hit the ball to the left-center gap. He does not want to just be a pull-hitting power hitter, and he should continue to build on this as he gets more comfortable at the big league level.

If Jarred Kelenic can sustain his final 29 game stretch next season, his numbers could look something like this.

Those numbers are star numbers. For reference, only 21 players in baseball last year had a slugging percentage of .524 or better. 79 players had a .331 on-base percentage or higher last year as well. Those numbers should not be expected next year, but it is very possible for Jarred Kelenic to have an explosive second year in the big leagues. He has the potential to be one of the best offensive players in Mariners history, and he can be one of the most feared hitters in baseball.

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Mariners fans should not forget about Jarred Kelenic, he has the potential to be the type of player that baseball fans around the country know and love. Jarred Kelenic is poised to become an absolute superstar for the Mariners, and he should not be left on the back burner by Mariner fans.