Scouting the Draft: Historic First Round Pick, OF Jarred Kelenic

By Dilip Sridhar

June 18, 2018 No comments

Jarred Kelenic/Photo by Bill Mitchell

Round 1, Pick 6 – OF Jarred Kelenic

Ht: 6’1″  Wt: 196 lb.  DOB: 7/16/99 (18)

School: Waukesha West High School (Waukesha, WI)

Background

You must have heard this 100 times by now but the Mets drafted Jarred Kelenic out of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Why is he historic? He is the first player taken in the top-10 picks out of Wisconsin.

Tommy Tanous was very excited about Kelenic’s potential. After the first round, this is what he told SNY:  “It’s a tremendous combination of hit and speed, true athlete, somebody that we think is going to come into this organization and provide offense.”

Kelenic told MLB.com that the Mets expressed interest a week before the draft. He met with many of their scouts, front office members, and coaches beforehand. He had a definite idea when other guys the Mets might have been interested in got picked before him. Kelenic also mentioned that Brandon Nimmo reached out to him after he got drafted and told him to reach out if he ever needed any advice. He also says he models himself on and off the field like Mike Trout. Not a bad answer, Jarred. Not bad at all.

Scouting

Kelenic was ranked 12th on Baseball America‘s Top 500 draft prospects. Keith Law of ESPN ranked Kelenic sixth, and MLB ranked him 10th. The general consensus was Kelenic was the top high school hitter in the country.

Here is what Baseball America mentioned about him: “One of the more polished hitters in the class, Kelenic has the frame and strength to continue to add more power as he gets into player development and could wind up with plus raw power down the road. As he ages, scouts are mixed on whether he stays in center field or moves to a corner, with his backers pointing to exceptional reads and defensive instincts, and detractors saying that his speed will back up as he gets stronger.”

Here are some things that Keith Law said about Kelenic: “He has a good, consistent swing that produces plus raw power, and he’s at least fast enough to go out as a center fielder. I believe he’ll hit for average too, but it’s tough to say that with confidence, given the poor competition he has faced this spring.”

His speed should allow him to handle center field and not to mention, the Mets currently have Michael Conforto there. That’s not a knock on Conforto, it just means they do not exactly value center field defense. His arm strength is elite and can play at any of the three outfield positions. He should also be able to hit for power down the line but some do question what his hit tool will be.

He faced weaker competition than most. Due to poor weather, Kelenic decided to play on a travel ball team instead of his high school team. The disadvantages of a travel team is worse competition but scouts felt confident enough to rank him high on their lists. If the hit tool is as high as some scouts think it can be, then the Mets may have a true gem here.

Development

In an article by Baseball America, Kelenic 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.” He definitely has the attitude to play in New York and sounds a lot like Matt Harvey did when he first came up for the Mets.

MMN‘s Jacob Resnick reported that Kelenic will be heading to the GCL to begin his career. The assignment comes as no surprise as the Mets also sent Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith, two previous first round picks out of high school, to the GCL for their first minor league assignment. The Mets made the deal official on June 15 and the GCL Mets season will begin on June 18.

According to Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, Kelenic’s deal will be for $4.5 million, which is slightly more than $1 million below the slot value.

Best of luck to Jarred as he begins his professional career.