3 reasons Braves fans should be excited about Jarred Kelenic joining the roster

Jarred Kelenic is one of Atlanta's biggest offseason acquisitions and hopes to get a fresh start with the Braves.

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Atlanta Braves fans are still getting acquainted with Jarred Kelenic after he was acquired in a trade this offseason. Soon after the trade, it was announced that Kelenic would be Atlanta's primary candidate to play left field in 2024.

Once a top prospect in the Mariners system, Kelenic's career has gotten off to a rocky start and he's not lived up to expectations. However, some of that is due to management in Seattle deeming him the next big thing and potential face of the franchise.

Pressure like that can be a lot for a young player trying to adjust to the league, especially for a franchise that was underperforming at the time.

Luckily for Kelenic, being traded to Atlanta allows him to divert those lofty expectations. He will have the chance to fix his swing and become the player most expected him to be in Seattle. Braves fans should be excited for the potential that Jarred brings to the table.

3 reasons Atlanta Braves fans should be excited about Jarred Kelenic

Kelenic's power potential

Jarred Kelenic has not fully realized his potential at the plate but he's landed in the right place to fix that.

Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer just has a knack for helping players fix their swings and unlocking their full potential. Not only that but Kelenic will also get to pick the brains of Matt Olson who really fine-tuned his left-handed swing once he got to Atlanta.

Kelenic just has not been able to sustain any success in the big leagues and hasn't stayed healthy. He looked pretty good at the start of the 2023 season but eventually lost the magic and then fractured his foot by kicking a water cooler in mid-July. He didn't return to the Mariners until later in September.

In 90 games before hurting himself, Kelenic posted a .252/.320/.439 line with 24 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 45 runs batted in, 12 stolen bases, 33 walks, and 118 strikeouts.

He can drive the ball well but he is very susceptible to striking out a lot and struggles with breaking pitches. Kelenic will have to improve his plate discipline if he hopes to have any sustained success with the Braves. Kelenic's injury from 2023 seems to have helped him mature a bit as well which could benefit him in this area as well.

Kelenic has the right mentality for Braves clubhouse

As mentioned in the last section, Kelenic learned a lot from his injury last season. He has spent a lot of time this offseason trying to improve his consistency at the plate and fixing his mindset.

Jarred mentioned in an interview with Braves broadcaster C.J. Nitkowski that he realized the ripple effect a decision like that has on not only himself but also his teammates and the fans. He'd never experience something like that and decided he'd never let his emotions overtake him again.

That's a very level-headed response and shows he understands his role on the team and what he brings to the table. He's joining a clubhouse that is known for being very supportive and helps bring the best out of one another.

He has already worked with Matt Olson to get tips on his swing and he's formed a bond with Austin Riley and fits in well with the clubhouse. Kelenic has said he's very much enjoyed his time in Atlanta already and we are just a few days into Spring Training.

According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, Kelenic stated: “A lot of the guys have just treated me like I’ve been here for a while." He continued, “That’s been super encouraging because we’re about to go to war here in a few weeks. It’s been fun.”

Brian Snitker echoed that sentiment after stating, “It’s a great situation for him to have success. The situation is good. The atmosphere is good. The work he’ll get is good. It’s just up to him to perform.”

It feels like Kelenic is primed for a breakout season in Atlanta. He's getting a chance at a fresh start with no expectations of being the best player on the team. He will get to just focus on his game and contribute where he can in a powerful Atlanta offense that supports one another.

His new mindset makes him extremely open to coaching and being able to take the advice given to improve himself on and off the field.

Jarred Kelenic is a defensive upgrade in left field

Eddie Rosario was nominated for a Gold Glove in 2023 but left field didn't have an impressive field in 2023. Kelenic is a slight upgrade over Rosario when it comes to defense. He has a bit more range and he's already flashed the leather a bit in Spring Training.

His numbers aren't the most eye-popping but his career OAA sits at -1 which has him sitting around average but that's divided between playing all 3 outfield positions. He does have a 3 OAA when playing right field but we know that position belongs to the reigning NL MVP.

Kelenic's arm strength is a highlight when considering his defensive ability as his average arm strength sits around 90.5 mph which has him ranked in the 86th percentile amongst big leaguers.

Not only does he provide competent defense but Kelenic also gives the Braves insurance should Michael Harris II or Ronald Acuña Jr. need the rare day off or god forbid, they suffer an injury.

Jarred Kelenic should do a lot of good in an Atlanta Braves uniform in 2024 and fans should be very excited about what he brings to the table. He is in the right place to make a fresh start and show everyone around the league why he was considered one of the most exciting MLB prospects.

If he plays well enough, there's a chance the Braves could consider offering him a contract extension like they've done with other young and talented players after a great season.

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