Kelenic crushing homers like it’s no big thing

February 26th, 2021

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It wouldn't be Spring Training without cellphone footage of top-end prospects torching towering home runs on a back field, now would it? Mariners outfielder had already been putting on a show this week, and he continued to crush on Thursday.

Facing reliever Gerson Bautista in live batting practice on Field 4 at the Peoria Sports Complex, Kelenic unloaded on a middle-in fastball and sent it deep over the right-field wall, then he walked away from the batter’s box without watching where it landed.

“That’ll play,” one Mariners coach said in the background.

Many responded to Kelenic’s homer on social media with admiration, as well as comparisons. He was likened to Chase Utley, Steve Finley and current Nationals star Juan Soto for the mechanics to his left-handed stroke.

Kelenic, MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, reported to big league camp with the rest of Seattle’s position players on Monday. After the team’s first full-squad workout on Tuesday, he tweeted out his appreciation to fans in the wake of comments made by Kevin Mather, which included mention of Kelenic. Mather resigned as president and CEO on Monday.

With Cactus League games beginning on Sunday, Kelenic figures to see some significant playing time early, particularly with the Mariners easing right fielder Mitch Haniger into action after he missed all of 2020 and more than half of ’19 due to injuries.

The Mariners have maintained that Kelenic still needs more Minor League development, regardless of how he performs in camp. But he continues to knock on the Major League door.