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The 10 best Mets minor league hitters I saw this year: 4, Jarred Kelenic

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Counting down the best minor league hitters I saw in 2018.

Jarred Kelenic
Steve Sypa

Disclaimer: This is a ranking of the best players that I saw during the 2018 season. I saw a wide cross-section of teams in 2018, seeing the Kingsport Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, Columbia Fireflies, and Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but I did not see the GCL Mets, St. Lucie Mets, or Las Vegas 51s, nor did I attend every single game of the teams that I did see. As such, this is not a comprehensive Mets prospect list. If a player is not on the list, I either did not see him, or considered the listed ten players better.

Name: Jarred Kelenic

Team: Kingsport Mets

Position: CF

Born: 7/16/99 (19)

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Bats/Throws: L/L

Acquired: 2018 Draft, Round 1 (Waukesha West High School, Wisconsin)

2018 Season: 56 G, 220 AB, .286/.371/.468, 63 H, 10 2B, 6 3B, 6 HR, 26 BB, 50 K, 15/16 SB, .345 BABIP (Rookie/Rookie)

Date(s) Seen: August 16 @ Pulaski (1-4, BB, K, SB)

The Man

Jarred Kelenic is an intense competitor, an attitude instilled into him by his grandfather. “He was somebody who taught me how to compete in anything that we did,” Kelenic said. “When I played basketball and baseball and football with him, he never let me win, and that was the right way to handle it. Because now that I’m here, I’m not going to let you win.” His quiet intensity and tremendous work ethic are what made the youngster what he is today. A native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Jarred Kelenic did not let the cold weather of his home state deter him. As a teenager, he would travel roughly an hour back and forth to train at a private indoor facility. Because his high school did not offer baseball, he played on travel teams, national showcase teams, and was invited to be on the 18U National Team. He played when a where he could, honing his skills and gaining exposure.

When the 2018 MLB Draft came, the Mets selected him with the sixth overall pick, becoming the first Wisconsinite to be selected in the top 10 picks of the MLB Draft. The Mets initially assigned him to the GCL Mets, where he hit .413/.451/.609 in 12 games. He was quickly promoted to the Kingsport Mets, where he hit .253/.350/.431 in 44 games, giving him a .286/.371/.468 batting line for the season. With the two teams combined, he drew 26 walks, struck out 50 times, slugged 6 home runs, and stole 15/16 bases.

The Hitter

Jarred Kelenic
Steve Sypa

At the plate, the left-handed Kelenic has a wide, open stance. He is very quiet at the plate, and has a smooth left-handed stroke that regularly registers exit velocities in the mid-90s thanks to his outstanding bat speed. When he is able to fully extend and whip the barrel head through the zone, the ball explodes off of his bat with plenty of spin and carry, making him a power threat when he really turns on a pitch, but it also causes his swing to get long. He uses all fields, mostly pulling the ball but going back up the middle and going opposite with virtually equal alacrity. He still needs work on recognizing spin and recognizing balls that he can drive from balls that he might not necessarily be able to, but the outfielder is a diligent worker and most believe that he will improve on this skill in due time.

Looking at defense, Kelenic plays a solid center field. Thanks to his above-average speed, good reads of the ball off the bat, and good routes, he gets to balls quickly, and is able to return the ball to the infield quickly thanks to a strong and accurate arm. He is well proportioned and athletic, and is unlikely to add enough mass to his body to force him off the position.

Looking To 2019

Though he comes from a cold weather state without a baseball program and has never played a full season’s worth of ball, Kelenic should be put on an advanced developmental track, skipping him over Brooklyn completely. Key to his maturation will be his ability to continue contributing at an average-or-better level with all of his five tools.

The Countdown

5. Shervyen Newton

6. Luis Santana

7. Matt Winaker

8. Ross Adolph

9. Zach Rheams

10. Juan Uriarte