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Jarred Kelenic is very, very strong
The arrival, perhaps?
In the now-rich lore of the intersection of Jarred Kelenic and the Mariners, there’s a tome Jerry Dipoto will go to consistently—about a famed pre-draft workout in 2018 leaving M’s brass smitten. And them sure he wouldn’t be there when the Mariners made their selection at 14.
“He’s hitting the ball the other way, he’s hitting it on a line and then they are starting to go off the wall,” Servais said. “And he then starts hitting them to the pull side … and hit a few off the Hit it Here Café. And I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ After about eight or nine swings, I stepped back and thought, ‘This kid has a chance to be pretty good.’ I made the comment that if there was a better high school hitter in the country … I would like to see him.”
Kelenic kept hitting, the left-hander driving balls to center and right field. The ones hit off the windows were noteworthy enough, but what he did next raised more than a few eyebrows.
“For me, the most impressive thing was seeing him hit balls out of our ballpark to the opposite field — and him doing that as an 18-year-old,” Dipoto said. There are major league All-Stars who will have a difficult time with that in BP or even in games.
“It was one swing after the next. He knew how to pace himself and it was clear there was a level of polish there.”
Mind you, here is what Jarred Kelenic looked like in 2018.
That is a child.
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The brings us to yesterday. And one of the most aesthetically appealing home runs in Seattle Mariners history.
Day game at Wrigley. Potential franchise cornerstone. Smooth lefty swing. Absolute tank-job.
If you a regular reader of this blog and have not watched the highlight a minimum of 25 times, go on ahead now. We’ve got time. Savor it.
Alright, good now? I don’t believe you but whatever.
You know the details. I’ll type them again, but you know.
Four hundred and eight-two feet. One hundred and twelve miles an hour. A thirty-one degree launch angle, if that’s your thing.
The more obvious notes on that puppy:
It is the second-longest home run in the Majors so far this year, trailing only a 485-foot blast by, of course, Giancarlo Stanton.
There are only 37 home runs, total, in the Statcast era (since 2015) matching or clearing those 482 feet.
13 of those 37 happened at Coors Field
No Mariners player, in the Statcast era, has ever hit a ball farther
It is the farthest Wrigley Field home run of the Statcast era
Quick intermission on the stats.
The home run that jumps out to me as most similar, but from the other side of the plate, is this one from Sammy Sosa in game two of the 2003 NLCS.
Alright, back to some fun with numbers.
Maybe this isn’t, like, the most sound scientific thing to do but when I see something take place on a baseball field that seems rare, I’m curious how rare it actually is.
For example, Jarred’s home run wasn’t some pull-job on a BP fastball. Even with some help from the wind, that was to straightaway center—without the advantage of a whole heap of pull-power.
Do…people do that?
In the Statcast era, only 11 home runs have traveled 482 feet or more to center field. (Nobody is doing it oppo).
Here’s the full list of dudes to do it.
Only three lefties. Two lefties outside of Coors. A lot of boppers. No I don’t know how Michael A. Taylor is on this list.
But even more interesting than where the ball ended up is where it started.
Down and away, 98 miles an hour.
Do people…hit those pitches 482 feet? Nah. Not really.
In the Statcast era, no lefty has ever hit a pitch down and away, strike or ball, as far as Kelenic sent that one yesterday.
Only one other hitter has done it since we were able to accurately measure these things. And he did it one time, that being Miguel Sanó and this 495-foot bomb over everything at Fenway.
Guys just do not do this. It’s hard to be that strong. And it’s hard to make it look so easy.
Hell, while we’re at it, let’s hit on Tuesday night’s homer as well.
The numbers come in at 107mph off the bat, 415 feet of projected distance.
There are oppo tacos and then there’s this Nacho Cheese Doritos Loco Taco with an open-faced quesadilla wrapped around the shell.
I mentioned it on Twitter and Dipoto mentioned it for the piece above, there are good players who simply cannot do the types of things Kelenic can do. I don’t intend to say “Only good players do this” but there are plenty of real quality players who cannot.
Tuesday’s shot isn’t quite as rare, but it’s tough to know for sure.
To me, that’s an opposite-field homer. Baseball Savant, the source of all these stats, has it as “straightaway.” Which, I don’t know, I guess it’s in the middle third of the outfield but a shot to that side of dead-center is not equal to one just as far off center to the pull-side.
Here’s a spray chart of lefty knocks matching the 107mph and 415 feet of distance since the start of the 2021 season.
Kelenic’s home run is somewhere in this clump.
Not the same historic feat as last night’s, but you’re not seeing too many homers with those numbers to that spot or left of it.
I don’t highlight this all to say “Hey, this is neat! What a freak!” like it was some anecdote it was cool to witness.
The idea is, hopefully, this is part of his game now. The hitters who are capable of not only hitting home runs like this, but of doing so repeatedly, are some of the best hitters in the game.
Here are the numbers for that spray chart—LHH, 107mph, 415 feet straightaway or oppo, since 2021—broken into the guys who do it most frequently.
Pretty good group of players.
Just like I mentioned in my post on Kelenic’s plate discipline, it isn’t about this skill in isolation being important. All-fields raw power rocks, for sure.
But numbers like this can underscore so much more. It shows a guy’s strong, yes, but also that his swing is smooth and efficient. That he’s finding the barrel.
It’s just two weeks, and the best of it was only this series.
But if what we’re seeing is part of Jarred Kelenic’s game going forward, if he can repeat feats like this, it will mean big things for him and for this organization.