On May 10, 2021 the Seattle Mariners announced they were going to bring up MLB’s No. 3 prospect in Jarred Kelenic. There is never a shortage of strong prospects who make their MLB debut throughout the season, but it is always exciting to see what the new kids on the block are able to accomplish on the same stage as the most star studded players.
The Mariners are no stranger to dominant rookies as just last season center fielder Kyle Lewis won the American League Rookie of the Year award. Lewis became their fourth ever Mariner to win the ROY joining Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001). Kelenic could join an elite group if he can have a strong rookie season, but before that can be a concern he first needed the chance to play.
His debut came on Thursday, May 13 in Seattle in the first of four games against the Cleveland Indians. He played left field and was put in at the leadoff spot.
He was given a warm welcome by the fans, but not the Indians right fielder Josh Naylor. Kelenic lofted a deep fly ball down the right field line which drifted into foul territory towards the stands. Naylor ran full speed and made the catch right near the stands. Since he had no time to slow down he hit the short wall and went tumbling into the first row of seats for a spectacular catch. The rest of his first game did not get much better as he finished with a stat line of 0-4.
He was not able to make a great game one impression like Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox and Akil Baddoo of the Detroit Tigers, who each received immediate recognition this season, but he showed up in game two.
Once again, he was put in at the leadoff spot. In his first at bat he struck out, but it was only a matter of time before he made his name known. In his second at bat, he recorded his first major league hit which was a two run home run to right center field. He made sure Naylor had no chance to rob him again. His final two at bats were doubles, the last of which drove in a run.
In only his second game in the majors he had three hits, all of which were for extra bases, two runs scored and three runs batted in. To make it even sweeter his success at the plate helped the Mariners to a 7-3 victory over the Indians.
He has already proved he can play in the big leagues and winning Rookie of the Year is always on the radar, but it is just incredible for him to get the chance to play at only 21 years old. He needs to make sure he enjoys each moment he gets on that field.
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