Jarred Kelenic proves the Braves were right to trade for him after impressive debut

Atlanta's left fielder has been performing at a high-level already this season.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

When the Atlanta Braves traded for Jarred Kelenic during the offseason, fans weren't sure what they would be getting out of the young outfielder. Kelenic had once been a highly touted prospect in the Mariners organization but could never find his footing.

2023 gave baseball fans a glimpse of the player Kelenic could be. Unfortunately, he would end up injuring himself by kicking a water cooler after striking out during a game in July. Kelenic fractured his foot and wouldn't return to the field until September.

That was a huge learning moment for the Wisconsin native and helped him on the path to being the player he knows he can be. The Braves thought he was worth trading for this offseason and have done a great job of caring about Kelenic being in a good place mentally.

Yes, they want him to perform on the field, but it is more important that he is enjoying his time on and off the field. Baseball is as much mental as it is physical. Atlanta's unwavering confidence in Kelenic has been a big part of his early success despite a tough Spring. Kevin Seitzer got to know Jarred and eventually, they worked on tweaking his swing which can take time.

Jarred Kelenic is doing exactly what the Braves thought he would

Towards the end of Spring Training, Kelenic started working longer at-bats and eventually was rewarded with hits falling. The last week of Spring was incredible for the Braves left fielder. He carried that momentum into the first series of the year in Philadelphia.

Kelenic has done an incredible job with working counts at the plate and the defense in left has been incredible as well. He's already made a web gem during opening weekend with a diving catch to rob Bryce Harper of a hit. He showed how valuable his defense will be for the Braves.

At the plate, he was 5-for-8 with one double, one walk, and two runs batted in. Every at-bat was impressive because he worked the count and didn't just swing early. It was very encouraging to see him compete well against one of the league's best starting rotations.

One of Kelenic's hits came in a pinch-hit opportunity on Sunday as Adam Duvall got the start that afternoon and he had a great series of his own in Philly. It's encouraging to see the platoon working wonders already.

Jarred also got a hit during Monday's series-opening win in Chicago. He and Kevin Seitzer have worked on fixing his batting stance and that has been a big help for Kelenic. They've shortened his leg kick and hand placement is a bit different as well. It allows him to get to the ball faster and stay in the zone longer.

There is a lot of baseball left but it is very encouraging to see the plan for Kelenic coming together the way the Braves hoped it would.

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