The expectations were through the roof. Jarred Kelenic was being called a savior, receiving heavy hype.
It proved to be too much the first time around, as Kelenic struggled in his Mariners debut and was demoted to the minors. But in his second stint with Seattle, the 22-year-old outfielder appears better ready for the Big Show.
“It’s been really enjoyable. I’m really having fun,” the outfielder told reporters recently.
The one-time Mets prospect, dealt to Seattle in the Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade, is enjoying an improved August. He has a strong .834 OPS, homered three times and drawn as many walks (nine) as strikeouts while hitting .235/.344/.490. His overall numbers — .151/.243/.280 — are still not anywhere close to where he wants to be.
But Kelenic is showing signs of that lofty potential so many experts foresaw.
“The more and more I’m around this environment, you kind of have the mindset of [if] it doesn’t happen, if I don’t capitalize here, I’ll do it with the next at-bat,” Kelenic said. “If I don’t capitalize today, I’ll capitalize tomorrow.
“I think that’s something I struggled with early when I first came up. Every at-bat for me was like a life-or-death situation. I’m getting over stuff a lot faster.”
In his first stint with the Mariners, Kellenic batted .096 and was without a hit in his last 39 at-bats before being sent back down to Triple-A Tacoma on June 7. He returned July 16 and has made gradual improvements.
“Jarred’s a good player and I’ve said it since Day 1. He got off to a rocky start here,” Marines manager Scott Servais said. “The expectations that he put on himself, that a lot of people put on him maybe weren’t really fair, but they are what they are.
“Having the opportunity to go back [to Triple-A], kind of reboot and then making an adjustment, and sometimes it’s a mental adjustment and sometimes it’s a mechanical adjustment. I think, in this case, it was a little of both.”
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