Outfielder Jarred Kelenic has gotten off to a fast start this season, his first with the Atlanta Braves.

If a change would do you good, as the song goes, the Atlanta Braves are hoping a few changes may be just what new left fielder Jarred Kelenic needs to lay the foundation for success.

 

Armed with a revamped left-handed swing, Kelenic is seeking to carve out a role as a key contributor with his new club while firmly establishing himself as a major leaguer after several years of struggles with the Seattle Mariners.

 

The Braves firmly believe they are just the team with just the coaches and just the system to help Kelenic put it all together.

 

 

“You adapt to the atmosphere that you’re put in and the atmosphere I’ve been put in and blessed with, with all these guys and all these leaders in this clubhouse, I think it’s truly going to allow me to reach my full potential,” Kelenic said.

 

The Braves have created what they refer to as “a hitting environment.” Though it all starts with ability, numerous members of the club have found next-level results through improving their approach, mechanics, and philosophy at the plate.

 

Kelenic is simply the next in line, though he now has the opportunity to do so without much of the built-in pressure and expectations that came with being a top prospect.

 

“You’re always excited when you get young, talented players,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “This is a kid (who) I think will thrive in our system and being around our guys, the staff and the players that we have. We do a lot of things differently than a lot of people.

 

Atlanta’s approach, hunting fastballs early in counts to do damage, paired with meticulous game planning and a selectivity which puts pressure on pitchers to execute or pay the price, resulted in one of the best offenses in baseball history in 2023.

 

It does not hurt to have a bevy of powerful bats stacked throughout the order, giving opponents few places to go for outs in the starting nine. Even batting at the bottom of the order, Kelenic could play a role in lengthening that lineup, much like Michael Harris II did for two seasons prior.

 

Kelenic’s slow start to spring training may have led some to wonder if more of the same hardships were ahead. That has not been the case to start the regular season. He hit safely in each of the Braves’ first four games, batting .545 (6-for-11) while starting three of those contests and delivering a pinch-hit double in the other.

 

It is a small sample size, but Kelenic seems to be trending in the right direction and using the entire field after making a series of mechanical adjustments during the exhibition season.

 

Kelenic revamped his swing with the help of Atlanta hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and the coaching staff. Like several other hitters, including sluggers Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson, Kelenic raised the position of his hands, a change that makes his swing more efficient by giving him a more direct path to the ball. He also cut down the height of his front leg kick to eliminate another moving part.

 

Ability can get a player to the major leagues, but the adjustments are often what keeps them there. Kelenic has put in the work, a critical step toward realizing his goals.

 

“You can tell right away the talent is through the roof,” Olson said in spring training. “I’m excited to have him here. He stopped into Atlanta to hit in the place that I hit in the offseason and (I) was able to chat with him. He’s been great and seems like he’s hit the ground running.”

Gideon Canice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *