Ken Griffey Jr. shares his advice for Mariners rookie Jarred Kelenic

May 30, 2021, 10:57 PM | Updated: 11:21 pm

Mariners Jarred Kelenic...

Jarred Kelenic takes a five-game hitless streak in the Mariners' game Monday. (Getty)


Jarred Kelenic has been in the major leagues for a little over two weeks, and the highly-touted Mariners rookie is searching for results that look more like what he was used to in the minors.

Mariners Takeaways: Understanding Kelenic’s numbers so far

After going 0 for 3 with a walk in Sunday’s 4-2 Mariners win over the Rangers, Kelenic’s slash line sits at .123/.197/.246, leaving him with a rough .443 OPS. He also has gone without a hit in five straight games.

It’s certainly not what anybody had hoped for out of the 21-year-old outfielder’s first 17 games in “the show,” and it’s easy to understand the frustration he’s likely dealing with at this point, especially since he has relatively kept his strikeouts down, has made a lot of hard contact, and his batting average on balls in play is a very low .122. The league average for BABIP, as the stat is commonly referred to, is usually around .300, and it’s one number that tends to find its way back to the mean – which is to say Kelenic’s BABIP suggests he’s been especially unlucky when making contact this season.

If there’s anybody who understands the position Kelenic is in as the team’s top prospect arriving in Seattle with high expectations and at a time when the time is trying to snap a long playoff drought, it’s Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who happened to be at T-Mobile Park for Sunday’s game. The Mariners legend jumped on the 710 ESPN Seattle broadcast during the top of the fourth inning with Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith, and the topic of Kelenic came up during the conversation.

Rizzs asked Griffey if he a “bit of advice” for Kelenic, and Junior didn’t hesitate to share it.

“Relax,” Griffey responded. “The one thing is, when you’re young – and we’ve all been there – you’re trying to hit the three-run home run with nobody on instead of just taking what they give you. I was no different. It’s just one of those things (where) when you get called up, you don’t want to go back down, and so you’re trying everything and sometimes you get out of your comfort zone. You start doing things you don’t normally do. Just relax and enjoy the moment.”

By the way, Griffey had his own struggles at the plate early on. After his famous double off the wall in Oakland to open his MLB career in 1989, he had just one more hit on Seattle’s season-opening road trip, going 2 for 19 (.105 batting average) over his first five games. And though he picked things up when the Mariners got home to the Kingdome, he had another slump before the end of his first month, with his average dipping back down to .189 after his 14th game.

Kelenic gets a chance to snap his hitless streak Monday as the Mariners, who are winners of four straight and back at an even .500, open a new series at home against the Oakland Athletics. Coverage begins on 710 ESPN Seattle with the pregame show at noon, while first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

Jake & Stacy: Is Crawford forcing the M’s to reconsider plans at SS?

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Sunny
High 74° | Low 56°
Roof is open
Angels at Mariners today at 12:40pm

Brent Stecker

Seattle Mariners Andrés Muñoz...

Brent Stecker

Mariners have a glaring All-Star snub due to MLB’s Yankees pick

The Seattle Mariners have just one All-Star, even though Andrés Muñoz is clearly more deserving of a Yankees reliever who was picked instead.

16 days ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

Brent Stecker

How much did bumpy road trip hurt first-place Mariners?

The Seattle Mariners struggled over a nine-game road trip that resulted in their AL West lead being cut in half. So where do they stand now?

28 days ago

Seattle Mariners Dylan Moore...

Brent Stecker

Mariners Breakdown: Where things stand after series loss in Cleveland

The Seattle Mariners dropped two of three to Cleveland in a battle of first-place teams. Where do they stand now? A detailed look here.

1 month ago

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodríguez J.P. Crawford...

Brent Stecker

3 bold predictions for AL West-leading Mariners: Trades, All-Stars and more

What's next for the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners? Potentially even more big things if any of these three bold predictions comes true.

1 month ago

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Brent Stecker

Can you believe in first-place Mariners? 3 stats that say you can

The Seattle Mariners are first in the AL West, but their record is the least impressive of MLB's six division leaders. Is this sustainable? Three stats may convince you.

1 month ago

Seattle Mariners Mitch Garver...

Brent Stecker

3 big questions after Mariners split their opening series

The Seattle Mariners are 2-2 after their first series of the season, and three questions stand out after they split with the Red Sox.

4 months ago

Ken Griffey Jr. shares his advice for Mariners rookie Jarred Kelenic