Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners

POSTED: No. 2 — Julio Rodriguez, RF
POSTED:
No. 3 — Emerson Hancock, RHP
POSTED:
No. 4 — Logan Gilbert, RHP
POSTED:
No. 5Noelvi Marte, SS/3B
POSTED:
6-10 — Three arms, a speedy outfielder, and the catcher
POSTED: 11-20 — Upside and heat
POSTED: 21-30 — Highlighted by young CF, relief help
POSTED: 31-40 — Five Arms and power upside


Monday, March 1: Best Tools
Tuesday, March 2:
How many Mariners prospects would be No. 1 elsewhere?
Wednesday March 3: 
Projected 2024 Lineup, Rotation, Bullpen


1. Jarred Kelenic, OF
Kelenic brings strength, speed,  instincts, power and hitting to the field daily, and has performed well since Day 1 after the New York Mets tabbed him at No. 6 overall in 2018.

Fun Note: Former one-time Prospect Insider writer Chris Hervey is credited as Kelenic’s signing scout. 

The left-handed batter has flashed plus hitting skills, including good plate coverage and an advanced ability to dissect situational counts. The swing is short, the bat speed is plus and it results in a powerful, compact swing he trusts versus good velocity. Combined with his ability to make consistent hard contact and find the barrel, Kelenic may be able to get to and beyond 30 home runs.

He’s always done a good job avoiding the chase, but in Modesto in 2019 showed a tendency to lean out and over the plate for something to drive, which in turn made it more difficult to get to hard stuff up and/or in — pitches that ended up on his hands, yet in the zone. Kelenic’s instincts in the batter’s box are very good, and he’s already adept at using the middle of the field.

He’s yet to see a steady diet of big velo and ungodly breaking balls — the best pitching he’s seen came against his own teammates last summer — but he’s been astute at avoiding getting longer with his swing, allowing him to battle effectively.

He’s a plus runner with enough range to handle center, at least for the first several years of his career, but the Mariners pushed him primarily to left field at the Alternate Training Site where he was asked to clean up some basics.

Despite the present speed, Kelenic has added size and strength and likely will continue down that path, so he may end up above-average, instead, suggesting he’s not likely to swipe a lot of bags, though he reads pitchers well and offers well above-average value on the bases.

Kelenic’s offensive future is bright, but whether he’s a star or merely a solid player may depend on if he can remain disciplined with his game plan and let the power happen as a result of a premium swing. A power-driven approach means decreased contacts rates, therefore a strain on his batting average and on-base percentage.

If he can stay within his strengths, we may be staring down a .320 hitter capable of 40 doubles and 30 homers.

Despite recent even in the Mariners organization regarding service time manipulation, Kelenic is likely to start 2021 in Tripe-A Tacoma where he would receive valuable time versus a varied lot of experienced pitching. It’s easy to forget he’s played just 17 games above the California League and won’t be 22 years of age until July.

If he indeed misses out on an Opening-Day assignment with the parent club, his time in Tacoma could be anywhere from 2-8 weeks, which heavier emphasis on the short side.

Kelenic currently represents the Mariners’ best chance at a superstar.

ETA: 2021

MLB COMPS

CEILING: Matt Holliday
MEDIAN:
Trot Nixon 
FLOOR:
Troy O’Leary

Sure, Holliday is a right-handed batter and was bigger than Kelenic, but he was an underrated athlete who played a strong left field in his prime, and the dude raked. Granted, he represents the ceiling projection for Kelenic, but he did post three 6-win season, one of them a 7-win effort, plus three other 4-win years and two seasons of 3-plus wins.

I’ve seen some Grady Sizemore comps for Kelenic, and those fit in a lot of ways, too, but such a comp doesn’t represent Kelenic’s hit tool nearly well enough, which is the same reason I don’t like the Bryce Harper comp some have broached, nor Lance Berkman comp due to defense and baserunning.

Kelenic is better defensively than Holliday, and may get a chance to play some center field, where he projects at least as good as Mike Trout, potentially increasing his chances to compete for an MVP in his prime.

Nixon posted four seasons of 3-plus wins, two others at more than 2.5 and peaked in 2003 at 5.0 fWAR. He had problems staying on the field, but posted a career .274/.364/.464 triple-slash, serving as a promising median comp for Kelenic.

TOOLS

HIT POWER FIELD RUN THROW OFP
65 60+ 55 55 60 60.5

NO PLAYER POS ETA BEST TOOL 2021
2 Julio Rodriguez RF 2022 POWER AA
3 Emerson Hancock RHP 2023 SLIDER A+/AA
4 Logan Gilbert RHP 2021 FASTBALL AAA/MLB
5 Noelvi Marte SS 2023 POWER A/A+
6 George Kirby RHP 2023 COMMAND A+/AA
7 Taylor Trammell LF 2021 HIT AAA/MLB
8 Cal Raleigh C 2021 POWER AAA/MLB
9 Brandon Williamson LHP 2023 FASTBALL A+/AA
10 Isaiah Campbell RHP 2023 FASTBALL A/A+
11 Juan Then RHP 2022 FASTBALL A+/AA
12 Zach DeLoach CF 2023 HIT A+
13 Jonatan Clase CF 2025 RUN A/A+
14 Austin Shenton 3B 2022 HIT AA
15 Sam Carlson RHP 2024 FASTBALL R/A
16 Andres Munoz RHP 2021 FASTBALL AAA/MLB
17 Connor Phillips RHP 2023 FASTBALL R/A
18 Levi Stoudt RHP 2023 FASTBALL A/A+
19 Jake Fraley OF 2021 HIT AAA/MLB
20 Milkar Perez 3B 2024 HIT R/A
21 Ljay Newsome RHP 2021 COMMAND AAA/MLB
22 Anthony Misiewicz LHR 2021 CURVEBALL MLB
23 Will Vest RHR 2021 FASTBALL MLB
24 George Feliz CF 2025 HIT R
25 Braden Bishop CF 2021 FIELD AAA/MLB
26 Yohan Ramirez RHR 2021 SLIDER AAA/MLB
27 Joey Gerber RHR 2021 FASTBALL AAA/MLB
28 Adam Macko LHP 2024 CURVEBALL A/A+
29 Wyatt Mills RHR 2021 FASTBALL AAA/MLB
30 Sam Delaplane RHR 2021 CURVEBALL AAA/MLB
31 Carter Bins C 2023 FIELD A+/AA
32 Alberto Rodriguez OF 2024 HIT A
33 Aaron Fletcher LHR 2021 SLIDER AAA/MLB
34 Kaden Polcovich 2B 2023 HIT A/A+
35 Damon Casetta-Stubbs RHP 2024 FASTBALL A/A+
36 Michael Limoncelli RHP 2025 CURVEBALL R
37 Kristian Cardozo RHP 2026 CURVEBALL R
38 Starlin Aguilar OF 2026 POWER R
39 Tyler Keenan 1B 2023 POWER A/A+
40 Taylor Dollard RHP 2023 CHANGEUP A

Last Updated on March 4, 2021 by Jason A. Churchill

Images courtesy of Phrake Photography and Ben VanHouten/Seattle Mariners
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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 and spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio. He now serves as the Executive Copy Editor at Data Skrive, a tech company that manipulates data to provide automated content to clients including the AP, BetMGM, USA Today, and ESPN. Find Jason's baseball podcast, Baseball Things, right here.