Do the Mariners already have Jarred Kelenic's production on their roster?

With Jarred Kelenic being traded in nothing more than a salary dump, many fans think that they lost a huge bat. But maybe, Dipoto feels confident that they already have his production on their roster. Let's take a look at who that might be and why I agree with that sentiment.
Seattle Mariners v New York Mets
Seattle Mariners v New York Mets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

On the heels of the Jarred Kelenic trade, many fans are left wondering how the Mariners can possibly get to be in a better spot than last year. They have created 2 more holes than what they started the offseason with, and with a lot of speculation about their budget, they might be pretty limited financially. It seemed like a puzzling move and raised some serious questions about where the team stood financially and if they could afford to fill all of the holes on the roster. Maybe they don't need to look very far to fill in that production.

Jarred Kelenic had a lot of hype coming into the 2023 season and started out really well. Some struggles throughout the year and a late-season injury left a lot to be desired. Many thought that, looking forward to the 2024 season, he would be given another shot to try and capitalize on last year's hot start. But apparently, the Mariners were so desperate to shed salary, that they were willing to part with the upside of Kelenic.

I think Dominic Canzone can replace and maybe even improve on the production they would've gotten from Jarred Kelenic.

Many fans will look at Canzone's 2023 and be pretty underwhelmed and hope that he doesn't make the opening-day roster. I agree, I even touched on it in my 3 Mariners who shouldn't be guaranteed a spot on the 2024 opening-day roster, and I stand by that. The Mariners should improve their floor and get more certainty from the corner outfield position, but can Dominic Canzone be one of the better 4th outfielders and rotational DHs in baseball, replacing Kelenic's production? Sure, and let me tell you why.

On the surface, Canzone's 2023 looks like a prospect who was overmatched, but looking at some of the underlying numbers, I think it tells a different story. In 2023 Canzone slashed just .220/.258/.399, which was good for a 79 wRC+. He hit 6 home runs in 182 plate appearances, which doesn't seem like a lot, but over 450 plate appearances, which translates to 15 home runs.

Canzone was also able to control the zone very well, something that a lot of rookies struggle with. He had a strikeout rate of 17.6% and although he didn't walk a ton, he has posted solid walk rates throughout his time in the minors. That tells me, he was a hitter that was just pressing a little bit and trying to do too much, not evidence of a hitter that was purely overmatched.

The part that I think shows the upside of a really solid player is looking at his baseball savant page. He had a 12.1%-barrel percentage, nearly double the major league average. He had an average exit velocity of 89.7 mph, which is 1.3 mph higher than the MLB average. His hard-hit rate percentage was 42.6%, which was 6.3% higher than the Major League average. Finally, his xwOBA at .326 compared to his wOBA of .282, shows that there was some bad luck and a lot of production that Canzone missed out on in 2023.

I think that Dominic Canzone could very well replicate the numbers that Kelenic has put up or was expected to put up. They are similar in age, have similar production throughout the minor leagues, limited major league at-bats, yet Canzone seems to be a more mature and reliable hitter. Canzone might not have the upside of Kelenic who could put up a 20-20 season and maybe even more, and I don't think it would surprise any of us.

However, I think if Canzone got 400+ at-bats, I would not be surprised to see him post a 250/.320/.440 slash line with above average walk and strikeout rates. I could also see him running into 15-20 home runs. I think that sort of production is what many of us hoped Kelenic would have given us in 2023.