A first-round pick in 2018 from the high school ranks, Kelenic was the rare top-of-the-draft type of prospect traded within a calendar year of turning pro. The Mets included him in the move that brought Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to Queens, sending Kelenic and other prospects to Seattle in exchange. The Mariners have been aggressive with the young outfielder, throwing him into the fire in a few Major League spring training games as a 19-year-old.
For a recent prep draftee from a cold-weather state, Kelenic’s barrel-feel is very advanced. He doesn’t have issue catching up to velocity and squares up good fastballs to all parts of the zone. There’s still some adjustment being made to pro-level breaking stuff, though we aren’t overly concerned about any long-term contact questions. Kelenic’s wiry-strong frame has surprising present batspeed and raw power, able to drive the ball in BP without selling out. He’s still learning which counts and pitch types to open up on in games, but the end result could be a nice blend of hit/power from a center-diamond defender. Defensively, Kelenic’s plus athleticism and instincts make him a standout defender in CF. His reads and routes are excellent, with the closing speed to finish plays both coming in and going back on balls. He draws rave reviews from scouts for an intense and competitive demeanor, the type of prospect that works hard to get the most out of his tools.
Kelenic is a few years off but already grades as one of the higher-upside outfield prospects in baseball. His ceiling as an above-average offensive contributor in CF places him among our Top 125 prospects entering 2019.