Mariners' Kelenic climbs to Modesto

No. 42 overall prospect to make Cal League debut Thursday

Jarred Kelenic ranked second in the South Atlantic League with a .955 OPS in 49 games. (Ken Inness/

By Chris Bumbaca / | May 28, 2019 11:41 PM

It took all of 49 games for Jarred Kelenic to put the South Atlantic League in his rearview mirror.

Hello, hitter-friendly California League. 

The Mariners promoted their second-ranked prospect from Class A West Virginia to Class A Advanced Modesto late Tuesday night, with director of player development Andy McKay telling Kelenic will make his California League debut on Thursday.'s No. 45 overall prospect batted .303/.391/.564 with 10 homers and 26 RBIs in 49 games with West Virginia. 

"He earned the promotion through his performance on the field," McKay said. "We are excited for him to move up to Modesto and continue his excellent year."

Video: Kelenic goes yard for Power

The statistics are even more impressive considering Kelenic began his first full season in the Minor Leagues in a 1-for-25 funk. MLB Pipeline's No. 10 outfield prospect caught fire and has not looked back, riding the hot streak all the way to a new level. 

Kelenic departs the SAL ranked third with 26 extra-base hits and 106 total bases and fourth with 57 hits. He's also fifth with a .564 slugging percentage. 

Defensively, the Wisconsin native has spent most of the season in center field (33 games), although he's also played both corner spots and has a .953 fielding percentage. 

It's been less than a year since the Mets selected Kelenic with the sixth overall pick in the Draft. After spending last summer in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and with Rookie Advanced Kingsport, Kelenic was traded, along with right-hander Justin Dunn and Major Leaguers Anthony Swarzak and Jay Bruce, in the deal that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to New York in December. 

Seattle was agressive with the 19-year-old, who drew his first assignment with his new organization in Class A. Kelenic rewarded that decision by performing to expectations once he shredded his slump. 

2019 MiLB include

"Anytime you fail, it's frustrating, but at the same time I was just trying to get comfortable and stick with it," he told last month. "There are a lot of variables that contributed to [the slump]. I was getting pitched around a fair deal and when I would get a pitch to hit, I was missing them. I just kept grinding it out while trying to find something that works. I was just hoping to get off to a quick start and carry over what I had done during Spring Training. I just got away from my approach a bit."

West Virginia hitting coach Eric Farris had high praise for his former pupil. 

"He's a real hard worker," he told on April 27, "understands his swing very well. He puts his best foot forward daily. He's still a young hitter, but he's got all the tools in the world. Moving forward, it's just, continue to firm that approach up. And understand the way pitchers are trying to throw to him. He's a big force in any lineup that he's in, so he's got to understand that pitchers are going to be careful an you got to wait for those mistakes.

"The kid's a flat-out hitter, man." 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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