The MLB Draft process is always a bit of a crapshoot for major league teams. Even first rounders are hardly guaranteed to reach the major leagues, let alone contribute in a significant way. The risk intensifies when it comes to high school players. For a high schooler to warrant first round attention, he has to possess special, undeniable talent. For a team to gamble so much, the player must be of the can’t-miss variety.
Jarred Kelenic 2018 MLB Draft Profile
At almost 19 years old, Jarred Kelenic will be one of the older high school players in the draft. The 6’1”, 196lb Waukesha, Wisconsin native starred for Waukesha West High School, and is considered one of the safest bets when in comes to high school players. Kelenic bats and throws left, and has experience as a left-handed pitcher. However, he’s primarliy and outfielder, and he’ll make his money with his bat.
Kelenic was a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game 1st Team All-American, and has stood out in summer showcases for years. Kelenic has a verbal commitment to the University of Louisville, but he’s been shooting up draft boards recently. If he’s selected in the top 10, as he’s predicted to be, his commitment won’t stop him from signing.
Very professional rounds from #Louisville commit Jarred Kelenic. Hard, barreled LDs to all fields, very quick hands. #PGAAC pic.twitter.com/1KLyRYOmfq
— Jheremy Brown (@JBrownPG) August 13, 2017
Kelenic’s work ethic outpaces most of his peers, and has been compared to that of J.J. Watt. He has a chip on his shoulder and wants nothing more than to be the best at what he does. He’s a good student as well, and his mental makeup alone makes him the kind of player coaches love to work with.
His physical tools also live up to the hype. He posses one of the best bats in the draft, high school or otherwise. As a pure hitter, he’s gifted. He already has impressive power, and has room to grow on his frame. His great bat speed allows him to use his power to it’s full potential.
Kelenic also possesses above-average speed and a strong arm, making his defense another plus. He could stick in center field, but might eventually move to a corner outfield position. All-in-all, Kelenic is a true five-tool player and a rare talent.
All high school players, no matter how talented carry some risk. The jump from the prep level to even the lowest level of the minors is a great one, and the development of any player can be hard to predict. There’s every reason to believe Kelenic will be able to handle the competition, but nothing is certain.
In addition, Kelenic’s age is a slight concern. He’ll be 19 in a few months, which is old for a high school draft candidate. Even so, since he’s already so advanced, his age shouldn’t be any real concern for scouts.
His skill set brings to mind a bigger version of Andrew Benintendi. Both combine speed, power, and solid defense. He should see as speedy a rise through the minors as Benintendi did.
Josh has been with Last Word On Sports since 2014, and served as a writer and editor before being promoted to Baseball Department Head in August of 2015. In August of 2017, he stepped back down to editor. He previously wrote for the Daily Nexus and the Athletics Communications Department at UCSB, where received a degree in History. Josh got his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2015. He's also a huge Red Sox fan.