Jarred Kelenic, The Man on a Mission

Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic at bat against the San Diego Padres on Feb. 24, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers)

Throughout Spring Training, Seattle Mariners outfielder Jarred Kelenic has arguably been the best hitting player on not only the Mariners but in the entire league. After today’s game, Kelenic is hitting .412 with a league-leading four home runs in just 17 at-bats. His OPS is a monstrous 1.530, hitting the ball very hard, very consistently. Kelenic today hit a home run off All-Star reliever Devin Williams that went dead center over the batter’s eye. 

Kelenic’s power has always been apparent, but the most intriguing part about his spring has been his ability to hit for average. With him hitting almost .500 at the plate, it has shown that he is seeing the baseball much better, and it’s also helped him get into better counts. His strikeout rate has also dropped, something he struggled with mightily at the major league level. Plate discipline and working counts are two major improvements that Kelenic has visibly made, and the outcome has displayed the potential Kelenic can have moving forward. Obviously it’s Spring Training, where the pitching he’s facing isn’t necessarily the most talented. However, it’s still professional pitchers, and the home run in Sunday’s game was off one of the best relievers in baseball. 

The Mariners outfielder has had a tough go in his first two seasons in the big leagues, with a career average of .168, and a lowly .589 OPS. Luckily for Kelenic, baseball is significantly relative, and based on what he’s shown lately, he has every opportunity to show that he is the real deal this year. Could this be the year that Kelenic becomes the superstar he was projected to be? So far this spring, he has done everything to prove it is.