Before I really dive in to what Mets fans should be expecting with Jarred Kelenic, let me briefly give you a background on me. I obviously have been a life long Mets fan like all of you, and my passion for the MLB Draft started in 2002 when I first really started getting into the minor leagues and following it. The first draft that I actually ever covered was the 2004 draft where the Mets took Phil Humber out of Rice. Humber didn't exactly work out for the Mets, but he ended up being a key piece to bring Johan Santana to Queens. I have been heavily following and covering the draft and the Mets minors ever since, so I've seen it all, good and bad. I also have spent many days in right center with The 7 Line Army, and hit road games with The 7 Line Army in The Bronx and Philadelphia. You also may have seen me at the Queens Baseball Convention on The State of the Mets panel. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @PSLToFlushing if you don't already!
Enough of that, now lets get into what you clicked the link for. The Mets have a shiny new toy in Kelenic, and I believe Mets fans should have some excitement for this pick. The three main publications that I go to for draft coverage would be MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and Keith Law at ESPN. All of them have a draft prospect ranking, and here is where Kelenic fell on each:
Now before you freak out, Kelenic was unanimously by all of the above sources considered to be the top high school bat in this entire draft despite playing for only travel teams and then showcases like Perfect Game and the Under Armour All American game. This was not a reach for the Mets, as sign-ability always comes into play. Kelenic will not see Louisville, he will sign with the Mets.
Kelenic is a bit raw, but has a very nice and fluid swing and shows an advanced ability to consistently barrel the ball with authority for his age/development level. He shows above average raw power now with the chance to grow into possible plus raw power as he fills out. He has great instincts in the field and above average athleticism, so the Mets will certainly try him in center field for as long as they can. He may end up in right field later in his development, and if that is the case he has more than enough arm for right as he has been clocked throwing as high as 96 MPH from the outfield. His above average athleticism also leads to him being an above average base runner who is aggressive and smart on the base paths.
Mets fans will fall in love with Kelenic's work ethic, and passion for the game. Some say he may even be TOO passionate, which I don't know how that is possible. He eats, sleeps and breathes baseball and training for baseball. He has worked out in the same facility as the NFL's JJ Watt, which if you know him, you could only hope his passion and work ethic rubbed off on Kelenic.
Kelenic's will to win and compete really stood out to scouts at the Area Code Games. Here are a couple quotes from Kelenic after a win for his White Sox team at the Area Code Games: "I don't like to lose," he said. "If I'm playing you in checkers or chess, I'm going to beat you. Bad. I'm going to bury you. That's something to take pride in. Just this last game, we were up by one. Do we really need one more run in the last inning? Well, I'm gonna score because I want to bury you."
To recap, Kelenic is a bit raw, but still shows an advanced feel for the game despite not being able to be an all year player living in Wisconsin. Between his above average or better tools across the board, his work ethic and passion to not be stopped, I will tell you that I would not bet against Kelenic succeeding. Wouldn't it be awesome to have an outfield with Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto and Jarred Kelenic in it in a few years? Yeah, I like that.
Alonso is on top of welcoming the new draft picks to the Mets. This is really awesome to see https://t.co/yBmwA7Bxp5
Today will feel weird for many of us who have Opening Day traditions at the ballpark. It sucks. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. We’re also 4 months into this COVID world. I think we’re all accustomed to hanging at home by now.