Understanding Jarred Kelenic: Shannon Drayer details her interview with top Mariners prospect
Mariners insider Shannon Drayer provided a revealing profile of Jarred Kelenic, the headline-grabbing top M’s prospect, in a 710Sports.com article that was published Monday.
On Tuesday, Drayer joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant to share further insight into what she learned about Kelenic, who she sat down with for a 20-minute interview last week for her story. You can hear her full discussion about Kelenic (plus a clip from Drayer’s talk with Kelenic) in the video embedded at the top of this post, or find it in this podcast from the show (starts at the 26:30 mark).
Let’s take a closer look at what specifically stood out about Kelenic to Drayer.
A Mariners insider perspective
If anybody would know Kelenic is a different personality than anyone the franchise has had in a long time – which is exactly what she said in her article – it’s Drayer, who has been covering the Mariners since 1999. But while Kelenic’s comments can come off as brash and perhaps give the impression that he is self-serving, Drayer said getting the full picture in a conversation with him puts him in a different light.
“As much as it is ‘Me, me, me, take my picture, put it out there,’ he talks about his teammates, he talks about his aspirations for the team as much as he talks about himself, if not more,” Drayer said. “‘I just want to bring a World Series to Seattle.’ … He said, ‘I want to have a handful of rings – for me, for these guys around me, and for the fans.’ And when he puts it like that and when you have that long conversation, I think it kind of paints a little bit different of a picture of him.”
In MLB spring training in 2020, Drayer said Kelenic would hit a home run on a back field at the Mariners’ complex in Peoria, Ariz., and not only would look to see if reporters saw it but would ask if they took video of it to put it out on social media. That’s borderline unheard of in the game, especially for a player who at the time was just 20 years old. He’s continued to do similar things this spring, and if it was something teammates took issue with, Drayer hasn’t seen it.
“That’s just outrageous behavior for any baseball player, let alone a 20 year old, but that’s who he is and when you sit him down and he’s so forthright – and he said, ‘I’ve always been this way, I’ve been consistent with this’ – you start to get it,” she said. “… The veterans know (his personality). His teammates know. If there was a problem with the way that we are entertained by the things that he says, well, they would know and you would see reaction to that, and you don’t.”
Part of what makes Kelenic such an interesting figure is how at ease he is being interviewed, which Drayer found out pretty quickly.
“It was funny because 20 minutes in (to the interview) I said, ‘I’ve got to let you go, I could talk to you for an hour,’ and he laughed and said, ‘Everybody says that about me.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re a talker,’ and he said, ‘Well, I’m going to answer questions. If you ask me a question, I am going to answer it.’ He’s very forthright and he’s very up front.”
Check out Drayer’s Mariners coverage on 710Sports.com at this link, and keep your eye out for more feature stories she’ll have on the site in the coming days and weeks from her time covering the M’s in Arizona this month.