Jarred Kelenic is the next Junior ...
or so the prospectoids are tellin' us

.

The Corner of Edgar and Dave has an excellent little article up, and an even better .gif of Kelenic swatting a pitch into the bleachers.  What was the pitch?  It was one thrown in his first game after promotion to high-A baseball. Quoting a few of their quotes, 

“The general thought was, when he came into professional baseball — by third parties — is that it was effectively average-ish power,” Jerry Dipoto said, with a slight chuckle, on Ep. 051 of The Wheelhouse. “The power is significantlybetter than average. He can hit, he hits the ball hard, he has lift in his swing, he identifies pitches incredibly well.

Looking at his swing, and at Dipoto's last attribute there, you've got to say he reminds you of Junior.  Griffey always had the ability to track good velocity against offspeed stuff, and when he first came up he had a much shorter swing, though even the young Griffey wasn't as compact to the zone as Kelenic shows in that .gif.  

In fact, when he was 19-21, Junior was "only" homering 16-22 times a year; three years he buckled down to stay within himself, even to the point where people started wondering whether he ever would hit for power.  He was just making sure they didn't embarrass him.  At 22 he hit more homers and then at age 23 his power exploded, 45 homers, and didn't stop until karma bit him in Cincinnati .

The Corner of Edgar and Dave points out that 4 teenaged players have hit for OPS+ of 160 or better in the Sally League since 2006:

  • Jarred Kelenic — 172 wRC+
  • Giancarlo Stanton — 169 wRC+
  • Bryce Harper — 164 wRC+
  • Joey Gallo — 163 wRC+

.

Brent Stecker also has a good read about Kelenic's "uncharted territory":

“We’ve literally never had a conversation about elite prospects because the Mariners haven’t had (any),” [ESPN MLB Insider Jeff] Passan said. “… It’s almost like you guys are getting the internet for the first time because you’re finally seeing what it’s like to have a top 20 prospect, and that’s what Jarred Kelenic is.”

.

Actually I had the internet when Jesus Montero was the #5 prospect in baseball, and at age 19 Montero was ripping high-minors AA baseball to shreds.  At 21, he was slugging .500 for the Yankees.  With Ackley and Zunino and Jose Cruz Jr. and a couple of others, the Mariners have had some pretty vaunted minor leaguers.  But we get what Passan is saying.  He's saying he thinks that Jarred Kelenic is a true Giancarlo Stanton-level minor leaguer.

So, if Kelenic actually is a Ken Griffey Junior-type of prospect, high-A is well within his ability and --- > so is AA.  We'll see whether all this big talk is worth doodly squat, Gramma.

.........

I like Justin Dunn's pitching template real well; it reminds me of Gil Meche.  And Dunn has got a 52:14 control ratio in 43 innings at AA.  He's on track to be a TOR starter in the #2b - #3a range.  With Kelenic and Sheffield at #1 and #2 in the M's org list, Dunn is #3.  Not my evaluation; it's what's on their site.

For Edwin Diaz, who you've got to admit throws 1 inning every other night, the M's received

  • Jarred Kelenic
  • Justin Dunn
  • Various and sundry spare parts
  • Out from under Robinson Cano's contract (in terms of GM agility)

Diaz is one whale of a pitcher.  That's one whale of a return.

Cheers,

Dr D

Comments

1

Kelenic and Fraley, that is.

I would have skipped the obligatory desert assignment for Kelenic, have said so already.  Harper bypassed A+, although both Stanton and Gallo spent time there.  But I find it intriguing that the M’s moved Kelenic nearly across the entire country, east to west, bypassing lovely Arkansas.  That got me to wondering if we won’t see The Kid (for I am pushing for that nickname already) in Tacoma, perhaps just a cup of tea stop, sometime this summer?

I like moving prodigy-types up in a hurry.  If DiPoto isn’t already imagining Kelenic in Seattle by mid- ‘20, then he has no imagination.  

I would have also moved Fraley up to Tacoma.  He is so balanced at the plate, with a great ability to wait on the ball, that he should get some Seattle cuts THIS season.  He turned 24 a week ago, he isn’t a teeny-bopper.  Since his Australian winter of ‘17, when something clicked into place, he is hitting .346-.422.-610 Over 666 PAs.  He’s just barely below that at AA.  Barely.  If that isn’t worthy of a Tacoma flight, then what is?  

Mallex Smith is hitting .699 over his last 28 days, that’s better.  But it is sort of appearing that CF may not be his spot*, and if it isn’t, then he better hit like he did last season (114) rather than ‘16, ‘17 and ‘19 (about 80 OPS+).  His .366 BABIP from ‘18 is likely unsustainable.  Ichiro’s was only .338.  So, is it possible that Smith is more a 4th OF type?  

*His dWAR #’s look way better the more he doesn’t play CF.  

BTW, the M’s signed former Oakland A, Jaycob Brugman yesterday. He’s basically missed all of this year with injury, but in ‘17 he saw 162 MLB PA’s.  He can’t hit lefties a lick, but he did hit RHP to a .280–.364-.368 tune.  He’s mostly been an .800-ish hitter vs. righties in the upper minors, as well.  He principally played CF in his MLB stint, but not well.  

With Bishop and Miller already got hitting in Tacoma, it sort of looks like DiPoto is making sure he has a 4th OF type for next season, which may make Smith more vulnerable, perhaps.  

2

Think "Adam Jones with walks" - which is an incredibly valuable player.  I adore Kelenic - getting him was a real coup at the time, and my feelings have only gotten stronger about it since. But Griffey was already in the bigs at Kelenic's age, and Adam Jones got his first cup of coffee in his age 20 season which would be the end of next year for Jarred. My comp for him when we traded for him was Grady Sizemore, and a healthy Grady Sizemore is an incredible thing, but regardless he's the most legit hitter in Seattle's system in quite a while. 

The Ms have legit prospects in the minors finally. It's not legit "for a catcher" or legit "arm with potential." I'm still not a fan of Sheffield as more than a MOR arm, but Kelenic has All-Star potential. He really does. Julio Rodriguez is finally coming back and he's frankly unbelievable - he might outhit Kelenic some day if he puts it together. He is our first legit international hitting prospect since... Choo?

And Logan Gilbert is an extremely legit ace-potential arm. His catching mono last year and reducing his velo in college is likely the only reason he got to us, and for that I'm grateful. He's a growing monster who has Godzilla'ed the low minors with mid-90s gas and wipeout hammers and will get to do the same to AA in few weeks, and Justin Dunn is striking out 11 per 9 with tremendous control in AA and still has a plateau to leap.

Seattle has prospects to get behind at long last. Not enough of them, but here's hoping they add a couple more this coming week in the draft - and that they don't trade em away for short-term gains. I've been telling you not to get too excited about Seattle's farm for a few years, even as an optimist and a lover of the minors and their big-league potential. 

You have my permission to get excited now. ;)

3

Nice to see you.  

I wasn’t claiming that Kelenic is Griffey, more that he was just one step down.  That would be Jones and Sizemore, wouldn’t it.

To tell you the truth, Kelenic wouldn’t embarrass himself were he in the bigs right now.  Oh, the Sales and such would feast a bit on him, for a while,  ut they sort of feast on all lefties, don’t they?  

So, you left Fraley out!  Fill us in....

4

College guys who can't do anything in the pros for two years, then retool their swings and are suddenly hardened killers of baseballs at the plate are always fun to judge. This is now a hundred games of mashing after his previous near-hundred of not doing anything. Breaking balls are more serious in AA and Fraley's always gonna be a fastball hitter first with that swing but he does look like another retool success story. The swing is clean and powerful, and I like him more than Gamel for the same sort of role: corner OF with good speed but probably not a CF. Fraley is demonstrating more of the pop that Gamel struggles to maintain, which might help him contribute more in that expected role.

Fraley's not really a big walker - he's too eager to swing the bat - but as a high-contact guy that's not really a problem and he walks enough to put his speed to use on the bases. Low hands, high rake, clean, plus corner defense and can fill in at center in a pinch... nothing not to like about where he's at. The Ms try lots of tweeners in CF so he might get run there if he keeps this up, but having multiple plus gloves in the OF has always been good for Seattle when they've had the chance. 

I like his chances to make the bigs and stick.

5

That I'd cap him at Jones plus walks but It seems a fair and reasonable hope.  Griffey is and was an elite in so many aspects, some of which still aren't yet considered skills by many.  There are several national pundits calling Kelenic a generational or once in a decade prospect.  Griffey was more like once in a lifetime.   People talk about the next Harper or such but the next Griffey was probably Trout.  I don't think it's impossible for Kelenic to attain that level and have been playing with thoughts of him following a more Pujols trajectory through the minors.  The one position player this century with under 1k MiL PA before sticking in the show.

Excellent prospect roundup, G-Money.  I always enjoy the perspective.

Iwant to add to the list of D&C return since I really like the spare parts of Biddle (from Swarzak/from Diaz&Cano) and Bautista.  Whatever Philly sends back for Bruce will join the list as well since he was also acquired from the Mets.  I read a Mets fan tweet asking how much of Cano's contract they'd have to eat to simply trade Diaz and Cano for Kelenic and Dunn.  I think they know the answer to be "you couldn't pay it down enough."

6

How great to visit the site this afternoon, and find all you guys joining in and commenting like it was... 2017? And, like the M's were in a pennant race?! Now, our excitement is all about competing in 2020, or 2021.  But the good (corollary) news is, we have some milb players to get excited about. 

How did Brody van Wagenen include a generational player, Jarred Kelenic, in trade for the next five years of Robbie Cano?  AND Justin Dunn? Hey, and don't write off Gerson Bautista! I wanted Jeff McNeil, but Bautista may become our next Eddie Diaz. He certainly brings the heat! 

I'm a big fan of Jake Fraley. Certainly some of that is related to his Statement of Faith- which, I acknowledge, does not help him hit the curve ball- but I'm ready to see a Taco OF of Braden Bishop. Ian Miller and Jake Fraley. I realize that would dispatch Billy Cooke back to West Virginia, where he can develop at a reasonable pace. Meanwhile, wityh BB/IM/JF patrolling the OF in Cheney, opposition sluggers may have to hit teh ball over the wall to get a hit! 

Several pitchers throughout the system who are outperforming expectations: SPs Misiewicz and Niese, Dunn, McCaughan, Moore and Sanchez, Gilbert and Newsome; RPs Merkel, McClain, McKay; Delaplane, Haberer, Kober, Salter, WIlcox; Arias and Sweet. The future is looking bright!

7

So I woke up this morning, read this article (SSI IS always my first stop), checked the Ms score (sigh), and then the mariner minors twitter feed. Kelenik 2 for 5 with a double, the Rainiers mauled by the Chihuahuas. Scrolling down the feed, there was a post from the Rainiers game entitled "The Kid Again", and video of the home run: https://mobile.twitter.com/MiLBMariners/status/1135018095280398337 by one Roberto Perez.

I did a double take - who IS this kid? I didn't see him on any prospect lists. He was in the DSL last year, where he hit .248 with a .378 obp and .200 iso. Then he shows up (in Tacoma!) on the 24th of May. 9 games into AAA he's slashing .367 .424 .700.

Oh, and he's 18.  Why did the Ms send an 18 year old who was in the DSL last year to AAA straight from extended spring/instructional?

Who is this kid?

8

Getting the Tacoma callup to fill some roster hole.

But man-oh-man!  What a heady few games for him.  

I was looking at Mike Trout's numbers a bit ago.  Everytime I do I remind myself just how amazing-incredible he is.  He is on track to lead the league in OPS+ for the 5th consecutive year.  Consecutive, mind you.  Aaron led the league 3 times in his whole career, Mays 6 times, Foxx and Pujols 5, each.  Heck, Dimaggio did it just once! You have to look to Ruth (12 times in 13 seasons), Williams and Cheater Bonds to find stuff in the Trout league.  a few more years of Trout at his peak and he's likely the greatest RH hitter of all-time.  

10

The Mariners acquired (again) John Andreoli yesterday and he got the Tacoma LF start last night.  Brugman started in RF and homered for the 2nd time in his two Tacoma games.    Brugman isn’t MLB chopped liver and Andreoli is a balls-to-the-wall type of guy.  Braden Bishop was 0-2 after a Seattle call-up.  

Robert Perez, the 19-yr old recently to Tacoma from extended ST, was 1-4 with a 2B.  In 11 games and 37 plate appearances, he has an ISO of .323.  He only has one start in the OF, the rest have been at DH.  

In AA, Jake Fraley was 3-5 with a 2B.  He’s now at .338-.408-.977.  The .338 looks to be Top 3 in all of AA (#2, I think), the .408 is Top 5, and the .977 Top 3.  By the way, his 9 AA homers are #2.  

Tacoma, today, please.  What does the guy have to do to get bumped up?

Oh, lest I forget:  Kelenic homered for Modesto last night.  In 4 A+ games he’s now 6-16 with 2 homers.  I told you we should have skipped him to Arkansas. Or Tacoma :)

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

shout_filter

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.