JAKE AND STACY

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)
(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?

See you next season

Chevrolet Silverado

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Gerald Everett...
Jake Heaps

Heaps: How Seahawks can — and why they need to — get TEs more involved

In his latest Chalk Talk video breakdown, Jake Heaps looks at the encouraging use of tight ends by the Seahawks against the Steelers.
21 hours ago
Seahawks RB Alex Collins...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Seahawks ‘don’t really have a choice’ but to be a run-first team

Whether the Seahawks want to be a run-first offense or not, Jake Heaps explains why they don't really have any choice but to try right now.
2 days ago
Seahawks Tre Brown...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: Have the Seahawks found the answer at CB in rookie Tre Brown?

How encouraging was the play of rookie cornerback Tre Brown for the Seahawks in his first ever NFL game? Jake Heaps breaks it down.
3 days ago
Seahawks Alex Collins...
Stacy Rost

Rost: The good, the bad and the ugly for 2-4 Seahawks

Stacy Rost puts the Seahawks' loss and 2-4 record into perspective, looking at Tre Brown's strong debut, the offense's slow start and more.
4 days ago
Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett...
Brandon Gustafson

Tyler Lockett on playing with Seahawks under Geno Smith, where offense must grow

Star Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett joined The Huddle on 710 ESPN Seattle to break down what QB Geno Smith brings to the table.
6 days ago
Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Brent Stecker

Heaps: Mitch Haniger’s Mariners article is worth getting fired up about

Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle's Jake and Stacy shares why Mitch Haniger's message from his column in The Players' Tribune makes him excited about the Mariners.
8 days ago
Is Mariners’ Jarred Kelenic starting to figure MLB pitching out?