Bringing back Adam Duvall may be a blessing in disguise for Jarred Kelenic

There is reason to believe Adam Duvall's signing could be a good thing for Jarred Kelenic's development with the Braves.

Atlanta Braves v Baltimore Orioles
Atlanta Braves v Baltimore Orioles / Christopher Pasatieri/GettyImages

I think it's safe to assume that most Atlanta Braves fans were under the impression that Jarred Kelenic would be the everyday left fielder when Atlanta acquired him in December. They declined Eddie Rosario's affordable option and made a series of moves that left the Braves with retained salaries and Kelenic.

Kelenic has not lived up to his hype in 252 career Major League games. His career OPS+ of 85 and .204 batting average leaves a lot to be desired. The Braves didn't trade for Jarred Kelenic because of what he's done in his career so far, they brought in him because of what they think he could do.

However, he has struggled this Spring, going 3-42 (.071 BA). The Braves have already begun trying to re-work his swing and mentality at the plate.

Atlanta announced they had signed Adam Duvall to a one-year, $3 million deal. They promptly announced that Duvall would platoon with Kelenic in left field. This may sound like a bad sign for Kelenic, but here are a few reasons it might be best for the youngster.

The Braves signing of Duvall may actually be good news for Kelenic

In a traditional platoon, the left-handed hitter gets the majority of the reps. If the Braves are solely basing the platoon off of the handedness of the opposing pitcher, Jarred Kelenic would get most of the at-bats since most pitchers are right-handed.

Now, when you look at the splits, the traditional platoon doesn't appear to make a ton of sense. However, the Braves are trying to unlock Kelenic's potential this season. They are hoping for better production than what he's done previously in his career.

Since Adam Duvall has essentially been the same hitter over his career, regardless of which hand the pitcher throws the ball, there's a good chance this could be a "hot hand" situation. If Kelenic starts slow, we might see a lot more Duvall. If Kelenic can start putting a good stretch together, we'll probably see more of him.

This scenario takes a lot of pressure off of Kelenic to be the star everyone expected in Seattle. Braves fans certainly do not have the same expectations for him that Seattle fans had. Now that Duvall has been added to the mix, the exterior pressure has to be at an all-time low.

Jarred Kelenic is still the future despite addition of Adam Duvall

Kelenic is the future for Atlanta. Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves might have had some optimism for the 2024 season, but the five years of control were likely what had their mouths dripping with saliva. Adding Duvall gives the Braves insurance for this season but the goal is still about getting maximum productivity out of Kelenic over the next five years. If that means easing him into things this year, is that a bad thing?

Duvall is also serving as a valuable upgrade to the existing options as a fourth outfielder. This was a need for Atlanta prior to bringing Duvall back to the Braves. Atlanta was one Michael Harris II or Ronald Acuña Jr. injury away from having an everyday lineup with Forrest Wall and Jarred Kelenic in it. I'm not saying that's the worst or that they wouldn't work out, but it's there is a lot of uncertainty in that scenario.

Duvall is known as a great clubhouse guy and a great teammate. At 35 years old, he has a lot of wisdom to impart to young players. Duvall's experience and demeanor may also help Kelenic in his development.

If Duvall outperforms Kelenic this season, he'll be the primary left fielder and vice versa. However, Kelenic is going to be around for a while. The pressure is off to perform right now. He has time to grow into his potential and the Braves have put him in the best position possible to make that happen.

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