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Monday, March 23, 2020

Sunday Notes: Mariners Prospect Jarred Kelenic Embraces The Art of Hitting

Jarred Kelenic is No. 11 on our 2020 Top 100 Prospects list, and his bat is the main reason why. As Eric Longenhagen wrote in the 20-year-old outfielder’s scouting profile, “[H]e’s been one of the — if not the — best hitters his age from the time scouts began to see him.” The New York Mets selected Kelenic sixth overall in the 2018 draft out of a Waukesha, Wisconsin high school, then shipped him to the Seattle Mariners in the seven-player mega-deal headlined by Robinson Cano.

Kelenic possesses marquee potential. In 500 plate appearances last year, split between three levels, he slashed a healthy .291/.364/.540, with 23 home runs. Moreover, Kelenic spent the final three weeks in Double-A, a heady accomplishment for a prep-draftee playing in his first full professional season.

I caught up to the fast-tracking youngster two weekends ago as he was taking part in big-league camp. Our conversation began with one of my favorite ice-breaker questions: Do you view hitting as more of an art, or more of a science?

“I think it’s an art,” answered Kellenic. “It’s something that’s developed over time. Kind of like a painting. It takes time to get all of the detail. Hitting is the same way.”

Come for the discussion of prospects- stay for the stories concerning hard-drinking HOFers.


Monday, March 09, 2020

Sunday Notes: Nick Madrigal Doesn’t Try To Hit Home Runs Anymore

There’s no question that Nick Madrigal can hit. The Chicago White Sox drafted the sweet-swinging infielder fourth-overall in 2018 after he slashed .361/.422/.502 at Oregon State University — and he’s continued to rake. Last year, Madrigal put up a tasty .311/.377/.414 slash line between three levels, reaching Triple-A in his first full professional season.

Few doubt that the just-turned-23-year-old will be a solid big-leaguer, as his bat-to-ball skills come with strong defense at the second base position. The question is whether he’ll ever produce more than a modicum of in-game power. Madrigal stands 5’ 7”, and he’s gone deep just four times in 705 minor-league plate appearances.

Could he one day display pop? Mindful that 5’ 6” Jose Altuve homered 31 times last year, I asked Madrigal how much raw power he actually has.

“I have some in my swing,” Madrigal told me on Friday. “I’m getting stronger and stronger every year, so I do think power could be part of my game. I’m not too worried about it, though. People say, ‘When will you start doing that?’ or ‘When will you start doing this?’ But I know what kind of player I am. My job is to get on base. I can drive the ball, but I’m not going to go up there trying to hit home runs, or anything like that.”

Open thread for any baseball news of significance that we’ve otherwise missed.

 


 

 

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