After a left ankle injury suffered on July 15 sidelined Jarred Kelenic for the second time this season, the 20-year-old found himself in his hotel room feeling sorry for himself. "Why is this happening to me?" he thought.And then something clicked. Kelenic decided to use the time to his advantage.
After a left ankle injury suffered on July 15 sidelined Jarred Kelenic for the second time this season, the 20-year-old found himself in his hotel room feeling sorry for himself. "Why is this happening to me?" he thought.
And then something clicked. Kelenic decided to use the time to his advantage. He started watching film and taking notice of things he could do to improve his mechanics at the plate.
The early returns on that decision were very positive Wednesday as Seattle's top prospect notched a trio of two-baggers, a pair of RBIs and a run as Class A Advanced Modesto roasted Stockton, 12-5, at John Thurman Field.
Gameday box score
"Having to miss time is not something that I'm used to, but at the same time, I tried to turn it into something awesome for me," Kelenic said. "When it happened I was pretty down, but then I thought, I'm going to make the most out of this. I started watching video of my swing for hours and hours and figured out why I wasn't hitting the way I wanted to. So it's translating into my play now and it's something that's making me so much more comfortable out there.
"So I took a negative and turned it into a positive."
Baseball's No. 22 overall prospect suffered the ankle injury running out a double in the sixth inning of a 15-inning loss to Inland Empire and was placed on the injured list two days later. The first-time Futures Game selection was activated Tuesday and returned to action that night, going 0-for-3 with a walk in a 6-1 win over the Ports. It was Kelenic's second time on the shelf this season because of an injury -- he missed two weeks in June with a right wrist injury.
"I'm just feeling really comfortable ever since I came back," he said. "Even last night, I was feeling great at the plate the whole game. I credit the work I did with the trainer here. We really got after it and pushed it. It got me healthy and right where I needed to be coming back."
Last year's sixth overall pick by the Mets has notched 24 multi-hit performances this season. Wednesday marked his sixth with at least three knocks. It was also the first time in Kelenic's career he collected three extra-base hits in a game. In his first full Minor League season, Kelenic has 43 extra-base hits over 82 games between Class A West Virginia and Modesto.
Against the Ports, the 6-foot-1, 196-pound outfielder went the other way on a 2-1 offering by Oakland's No. 27 prospectBrady Feigl in the opening frame, punching a ground ball into left field. Kelenic's 55-grade speed was on display as he motored into second to set the Nuts up with a runner in scoring position and one out. A groundout and a strikeout ended the threat and stranded him on the basepaths.
"They were playing me straight up and he threw me a changeup away," Kelenic said. "I just kinda threw my hands at it and got it down the line and fair."
The 20-year-old faced the right-hander again two innings later -- this time with Joseph Rosa on first and nobody out. After taking a ball in the dirt, Kelenic hammered a drive to the wall in right-center to put a pair into scoring position. Joe Rizzo -- the 22nd-ranked Mariners prospect -- brought home Rosa with a groundout to short before No. 27 Keegan McGovern plated Kelenic with a double to left.
"I really thought this one was gone," he said. "Just before the pitch, I heard one of their coaches say something like the runner was going to take off. So I was looking for a fastball up -- do like a hit-and-run type thing. But then I think he just missed his spot and threw it right down the middle, and I crushed it off the wall."
In the fifth, Kelenic attacked the first pitch he saw from right-hander Michael Danielak and laced it down the line in right for a double. Rosa and Johnny Adams scored on the play, but Kelenic was caught at third trying to stretch his knock after the relay throw went to the plate.
The 2018 MiLB.com Organization All-Star opened the season with Class A West Virginia, where he posted a .309/.394/.586 slash line with a .981 OPS, 28 extra-base hits, 33 runs scored and 29 RBIs for the Power over 50 games. He was promoted to the California League on May 29 and is batting .259 through 32 games with the Nuts.
"Anyway I can help the team win at this point, that's what I'm trying to do," Kelenic said. "I have a job, everyone has a job, and tonight it just kind of worked out this way."
Ariel Sandoval also turned in a three-hit effort with a double, two RBIs and a run scored, while Adams added a pair of hits and scored twice for Modesto. Jack Larsen cranked a go-ahead two-run blast and finished with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Oakland's fifth-ranked prospect Austin Beck doubled, singled, drove in a run and scored, while No. 10 Jeremy Eierman cleared the bases with a three-run double for Stockton.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RobTnova24.