Mariners Prediction #2: Jarred Kelenic is a beast
If we would've told you in the offseason that a Mariners OF would be hitting .310/.385/.603 with four homers and three steals through the first 19 games, you probably would've guessed Julio, then Teo, then maybe even Pollock. Or a healthy D-Mo. Jarred Kelenic likely wouldn't have been in the top 3.
Yet, here he is leading the way for the Mariners just like we (sort of) predicted. Kelenic looks like a completely different ballplayer out there. His average exit velo is way up, sitting at 92.2 mph through 19 games, which is about 5 mph faster than his previous two seasons, and well above the league average of 88.4. He's also doing it consistently, with a hard hit rate (events at 95+ mph) of 54.8%, which is 19% above league average.
HIt the ball hard, and do it often, and you are going to find success. Crazy, right?
He's whiffing at a lower rate (33.3% down to 22.2%), chasing less (and making contact more often when he does), getting under it less, and making better contact on breaking balls and offspeed pitches.
It's odd. Almost like we should give young players time to adapt and figure it out, especially ones who are thrown into the limelight when they are 21 years old. Kelenic looks to be figuring it out, and that early season prediction of .241 and 30 homers looks entirely possible.