Atlanta Braves 2024 season preview: Jarred Kelenic hopes to breakout with his new squad

After some early struggles to start his career, the former first-round pick has a chance to find a role and compete with his new team.

New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners
New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

Jarred Kelenic was taken with the 6th overall pick by the Mets in the 2018 MLB draft. He didn't stick around there long though, as he was traded to the Mariners in the same year. There, he would climb the prospect rankings, eventually peaking as the 4th-rated prospect in 2021.

That year, he made his debut for the Mariners, but he was underwhelming, to say the least. Through 93 games, he slashed .181/.265/.350 and only had 14 long balls and 43 RBI to show for the season.

It became even worse during his sophomore season when he slashed .141/.221/.313 through 54 games. Just last season, he managed to finally find his footing though, slashing .253/.327/.419 through 105 games, finally showing glimpses of his star potential.

What can Braves fans expect from Kelenic in 2024

The important thing to note about Kelenic is his extremely high ceiling. After all, he has only been in the majors for 3 seasons, and after last season he is primed for a breakout. He shows tools across the board including him being an above-average defender to go along with his plus arm. Assuming that Kelenic will be playing primarily left field, he should be able to lock it down and gun some runners out in the process.

As for his bat, Kelenic has both the power and contact tools to have a major impact at the plate. He can spray balls to all areas of the field and has no problem barreling balls in all quadrants of the strike zone. His high strikeout rate has been a concern for his past few seasons, but after last year he seems to walking more and improving in that area.

As for the power, 11 home runs isn't striking, but he has the ability to put up many more. He also does not struggle against same-sided pitching the same way some lefties do, but instead, he hits lefties better than righties.

One of the last factors of his game that has only been shown minimally, is his baserunning game. Last year, Kelenic swiped 13 bags and has the ability to steal more. Being on a very aggressive baserunning team, he has a very realistic chance at possibly having 20-plus stolen bases this season.

At the end of the day, the Braves have a ton of depth, so there isn't too much pressure on him. The recent addition of Adam Duvall may help Kelenic to not feel like he has to be "the guy."

This could play a big role in his performance because Seattle may have been expecting too much from him on a nightly basis. Kelenic may have the opportunity to have a sneakily impressive year at the bottom of this monster Braves lineup, and he could develop into a key piece for the team.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built