Kelenic is hitting .387 (12-for-31) with three doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, a walk and four runs across his last six games with Triple-A Tacoma. It's another highly encouraging minor-league stretch for Kelenic, who's now slashing .297/.340/.565 with 20 extra-base hits and 24 RBI over 147 plate appearances overall with the Rainiers. Despite the vastly improved performance compared to his dismal big-league stint earlier in the season, the Mariners appear intent on sticking to their guns with respect to ensuring Kelenic displays improvement in certain areas before summoning him back to the big leagues. In response to Taylor Trammell hitting the injured list due to a hamstring issue Wednesday, the team promoted Marcus Wilson instead of Kelenic, who still sports a problematic 5.4 percent walk rate and 27.9 percent strikeout rate against Triple-A arms.
Kelenic recently missed five days at Triple-A Tacoma with a hamstring strain, but he returned to action Thursday, Brent Stecker of 710 ESPN Seattle reports. The 22-year-old has cooled off at the plate after a recent hot streak, hitting just .150 (3-for-20) over his last six games. Stecker notes Kelenic continues to struggle with consistent contact despite facing a lower level of competition in Tacoma, as he's struck out 34 times in 24 games with the Rainiers. Consequently, it may take an improvement in that area over an extended stretch before Kelenic returns to the big-league club.
Kelenic went 3-for-5 with an RBI single, a run-scoring ground-rule double, a three-run home run and an additional run in Triple-A Tacoma's loss to Las Vegas on Sunday. This is exactly the type of all-around domination of opposing pitchers that Kelenic had made the norm during the pre-big-league-debut portion of his minors career, one that set the type of expectations the prized prospect has frustratingly fallen short of at the highest level thus far. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old offered plenty of reason for optimism with his performance against the Aviators over the just-concluded five-game series, as Sunday's performance was preceded by a 4-for-4 tally Saturday that included a triple and a solo home run and he also hit safely in each of first three games of the extended set.
Kelenic is hitting .286 (8-for-28) with two doubles, a home run, three RBI, four walks and a steal across his last seven games with Triple-A Tacoma. They're not otherworldly numbers by any stretch, but at least Kelenic has picked up the pace by a good margin after going 1-for-9 over his first two games following his demotion. However, one troubling trend that continues to haunt Kelenic and harkens back to his pair of very difficult major-league stints is an inability to make consistent contact -- even during his current encouraging stretch, he's sporting a massive 34.4 percent strikeout rate.
Kelenic, who was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday, is 1-for-9 with six strikeouts over his first two games with the Rainiers. It's naturally a very small sample, but it's undoubtedly worrisome that Kelenic is already struggling with making consistent contact back in the minors. The 22-year-old has dominated at the Triple-A level in the past, however, and given his pedigree, he should be able to boost his numbers up over time while endeavoring to eventually get back to the big leagues.