Is Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic starting to figure MLB pitching out?

Aug 3, 2021, 11:22 PM
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Jarred Kelenic hit his fourth homer of the season in Tuesday's Mariners win. (AP)

Jarred Kelenic’s second stint up with the Mariners this season is certainly going a lot better than his first.

Servais: Mariners’ lineup is deepest, most complete it’s been all year

In 17 games since his July 16 return from Triple-A Tacoma, the 22-year-old outfielder has hits in nine contests, including four of his last five. Perhaps even more important is that he’s cutting down his strikeouts and has started taking more walks – he’s struck out just twice in his last four games and earned eight free passes over his last 12 starts.

The overall numbers still need work – his slash line is .131/.222/.228 for the year – but manager Scott Servais is seeing the positive signs he’s been hoping for out of an integral piece of the Mariners’ future.

“He’s doing a great job controlling the strike zone,” the M’s skipper said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Scott Servais Show. “You see the quality at-bats… he’ll get down in the count 0-2, 1-2 – we call it 0-2, 1-2 recovery. Can you get back to 3-2? You’re not always going to win the 3-2 (count), you may make an out, but the fact that you’ve gotten back to 3-2, you’ve just made that pitcher really work, and Jarred’s done an outstanding job of that.”

A big part of Kelenic’s recent success is that he changed up his batting stance. No longer is he hunched over the plate, instead standing more upright and seeing to be more relaxed as he waits for pitches to be delivered. Servais said that’s resulting in Kelenic showing a better eye than before.

“The adjustments in his stance, I think it’s really raised his eye level a little bit so he’s not chasing so many balls below the strike zone. The swing’s always there, but his timing’s been better. Seeing the ball better, it’s paying off.”

It sure paid off on Tuesday when Kelenic hammered a home run to dead center in Seattle’s series-clinching 4-2 win over the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. It was Kelenic’s four homer of the season and second of the Mariners’ current road trip.

Even before Kelenic’s solo shot, Servais was predicting that the 2018 first-round pick would soon show that he’s figuring out MLB pitching.

“I’m still looking for him to get hot,” Servais said. “I’m talking about one of those hot streaks where you’re 8 for 12 and hit about three home runs in that stretch, because I know he’s got that in him. But I’m really encouraged by the quality of his at-bats and how he’s handled things. He’s just much calmer, grinding through it, realizing he can make adjustments.

“He’s doing all the things you’d hope he’d do, and he’s gonna hit that hot streak. I guarantee it.”

Follow Brent Stecker on Twitter.

Finding players like Toro is what M’s do, but will the model change?

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
High 64° | Low 55°
Mariners are on the road.
Mariners at Angels today at 1:07pm

Fri, Sep 24 @ 6:38 pm
Starting Pitcher:
Seattle’s Logan Gilbert

Chevrolet Silverado

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks TE Gerald Everett...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: The 3 adjustments Seahawks OC Shane Waldron needs to make

How can the Seahawks' offense get back on track after a rough second half in Week 2? Jake Heaps has three suggestions for OC Shane Waldron.
2 days ago
Mariners Tyler Anderson...
Brent Stecker

Mariners’ trade for Tyler Anderson a big reason Seattle remains in the race

"It's been so critical for us to stay in this playoff race knowing that we're gonna give him the ball once every five days and he's gonna keep us right in the ballgame," Mariners manager Scott Servais says of Tyler Anderson.
4 days ago
Seahawks Tyler Lockett...
Jake Heaps

Heaps’ Seahawks Chalk Talk: Why Tyler Lockett keeps getting better

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is off to the best start of his career and well on pace for a third straight 1,000-yard season. How does he keep getting better? Jake Heaps explains in this week's brand new edition of Chalk Talk.
4 days ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson Bobby Wagner...
Stacy Rost

Rost: 2 quick and 2 big fixes for Seahawks after an ugly Week 2 loss

The good news for the Seahawks is that some of their biggest problems from Sunday are fixable. Some are quicker than others, though.
4 days ago
Seahawks Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: How WR Tyler Lockett has started 2021 red hot for the Seahawks

Tyler Lockett has been on fire for the Seahawks through two games. Jake Heaps breaks down what's working well for the veteran wide receiver.
5 days ago
Seahawks RB Chris Carson...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Importance of running game in Seahawks’ offense on display in loss to Titans

The Seahawks struggled mightily to establish the run Sunday, which Jake Heaps says really impacted how they operated against the Titans.
6 days ago
Is Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic starting to figure MLB pitching out?