Mariners All-Star Daniel Vogelbach: Jarred Kelenic needed to be reminded how good he is
Mariners slugger Daniel Vogelbach is just days away from his first MLB All-Star Game, but he’s not one to spend much time discussing his own feats or talk up his playing ability.
He is plenty comfortable telling another player how good they are, however.
Vogelbach joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore and explained that he has served as a mentor of sorts this year for Jarred Kelenic, the Mariners’ 19-year-old top prospect who is currently starring for Seattle’s High-A affiliate, the Modesto Nuts.
As broken down in a May story by The Seattle Times’ Adam Jude, the 26-year-old Vogelbach crossed paths with Kelenic at Mariners spring training in Peoria, Ariz., and after Kelenic got off to a slow start with Low-A West Virginia, he got a hold of Vogelbach.
“Obviously (Kelenic) was in spring training, he was up and down (between the big league and minor league camps) a lot, so I got to watch him hit and he’s very talented, he can really hit,” Vogelbach said. “He reached out to me just talking about some struggles, and he’d not gotten off to a great start, and sometimes you just need to hear how good you are and be reminded of it.”
Vogelbach was glad to remind Kelenic why the Mariners had made the 2018 first-round draft pick the centerpiece of their return in the trade that sent All-Stars Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the New York Mets.
“I just told him to slow it down and that he’s there for a reason, and the Mariners obviously really, really like him or they wouldn’t have traded for him,” Vogelbach said. “Just go play, and he’s been really, really good all year.”
Kelenic certainly has. He quickly shook off that slow start in West Virginia, leading the Power in just about every relevant offensive category, and was promoted to Modesto in late May. With the Nuts, he has three home runs, eight extra-base hits and four stolen bases in 21 games.
Vogelbach said the two of them are still talking.
“We still stay in contact, just talking some adjustments as he goes, but I didn’t really do anything – just reminded him that he’s the player he is and that just doesn’t disappear.”
Vogelbach should know. After spending the majority of each of the past three years in Triple-A, he is heading to the midsummer classic in Cleveland thanks to some impressive numbers in his first full season in the majors. His .383 on-base percentage is eighth in the American League, while his 20 home runs are tied for eighth and his .894 OPS ranks 11th in the AL.
To hear the full interview with Vogelbach on Danny, Dave and Moore, listen in the player embedded in this post or click here for the podcast page.