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2018 MLB Draft: Jarred Kelenic, OF, Waukesha, Wisconsin

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Wisconsin prep expected to go early in ‘18 class

Continuing our coverage of top players for the 2018 MLB Draft, let’s head over to the high school prep ranks with a quick look at Jarred Kelenic, out of Waukesha West High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The vagaries of climate in the northern states are a handicap for high school baseball players but the elite talents usually still stand out. Kelenic qualifies, having been on the scouting radar for some time now thanks to his presence in summer showcases. He was a pre-season Rawlings/Perfect Game All-American and while frigid weather has limited his playing time this spring, his reputation has held up. He was viewed as a near-certain first round pick six months ago and if anything his stock has improved over the last few weeks, with rumors now placing him in the top ten and perhaps the top five.

Kelenic is listed at 6-1, 195 a left-handed hitter and thrower born July 19th, 1999. He’s universally considered one of the best pure hitters in the class, with good feel for the strike zone and a mechanically-sound swing that he repeats well. His hitting skills are quite polished, especially for a cold-weather bat.

Power ratings range between 50 and 60 depending on the source. We’ll have to see exactly how his home run power manifests at higher levels but he should have significant pop.

Defensive tools are another positive: he’s got a 60-arm and 55/60-speed. There’s some concern he may lose a bit of speed with maturity but he should manage center field at least for several years. He should still have enough power for a corner if necessary and his arm would work well in right field. Makeup is another positive. He has a University of Louisville scholarship but this isn’t expected to be a major hindrance to his signability if he’s selected where his talent warrants.

The only negative in the profile is age: he turns 19 in July, making him one of the older players in the prep class although that’s hardly his fault.

Given his balance of broad physical tools and reasonably polished skills, Kelenic is considered a relatively safe bet as high school bats go.

Video from Taiwan Baseball Notes: