Braves Spring Training Update: Kelenic's recent emergence at the plate bodes well for Braves

Atlanta's left fielder has battled through a tough Spring but he is starting to see results.

Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

A lot of talk has been swirling around Atlanta Braves left fielder Jarred Kelenic this Spring. Kelenic has long been seen as a future star in Major League Baseball but injury and underperformance have handcuffed him from meeting those expectations.

Spring Training has not been the friendliest for the Wisconsin native as he was 3-for-42 at the plate heading into the last two weeks of camp. Many fans were rightfully concerned with his performance and it initially appeared the Braves may be too by adding Adam Duvall to the roster.

However, we quickly discovered the Braves would have still wanted Kelenic even if they had signed Duvall before him. Duvall's addition was more about improving the team than any doubts about Kelenic's performance. That move helped fortify a rather weak bench for Atlanta.

Kevin Seitzer and the Braves coaching staff are helping Kelenic fix his swing and hoping to help increase his self-confidence. Kelenic is an emotions-driven player and Atlanta knows they need to help him manage that so he can be the best version of himself on and off the field.

It seems that unwavering belief in Kelenic to turn things around is starting to pay off for the 24-year-old outfielder. Jarred had started making solid contact with the ball and just hitting it directly at someone. However, that is always a great precursor for things to come.

During Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays at CoolToday Park, it all came together and he started seeing results. Kelenic worked a 12-pitch at-bat, fouling off a lot of balls before getting rewarded with a rocket single up the middle.

This at-bat helped lead to a Braves rally in which the team rattled off four runs to tie things up. It was great to see him have a chance to contribute to the team's win.

This was his second at-bat of the game. The first at-bat was a fly out but it was hit with authority and showed Jarred was starting to get his swing back. He eventually got a second hit with a single to center field.

It was encouraging to see because he was able to lift the ball more and with great exit velocity. What was most encouraging is that Jarred carried this into Atlanta's game with the Yankees the very next day.

Orlando Arcia, who is starting to figure things out at the plate as well, launched a solo shot to lead off the fifth inning and tie the game. Kelenic almost went back-to-back with Arcia as he laced an opposite-field shot to left field. The ball ricocheted off the wall and allowed Kelenic to leg out a triple.

He then scored thanks to a single from Ronald Acuña Jr. giving the Braves a lead over the Yanks.

Yes, this is only a two-game sample size, and Kelenic could easily revert to struggling at the plate. However, with the way things have progressed, there's a lot of reason to believe this is just going to continue.

He is working at-bats better and staying through the ball. Before the swing change, it felt like his hands didn't stay inside long enough which caused him to swing and miss a bit more than he'd like. Now, his bat is in the zone for much longer and it's allowing him to drive the ball with authority.

The main thing this shows is that Kelenic is buying into what the Braves believe about his ability to perform at a high level. Getting some results at the plate should allow him to take some pressure off himself and keep this up.

You can see that with a recent interaction he had during batting practice with Kelenic. Eddie Perez told the youngster in his own words how glad he is to have him around.

Perez didn't miss a chance to razz his other players at the same time saying "I'm glad you're here, man. These other guys stink!" This got a pretty nice chuckle out of Kelenic. Safe to say he's enjoying this environment.

Anything can happen during the regular season but this recent development bodes well for Kelenic's ability to be a huge contributor to the Braves offense in 2024.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built