Braves fans falling for same Jarred Kelenic trap as Mariners

Don't expect newly acquired outfielder Jarred Kelenic to be on a tear for Atlanta in early April.

Jarred Kelenic, Atlanta Braves
Jarred Kelenic, Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

So Jarred Kelenic is a notoriously slow starter? So what? Kelenic may not be having the best of spring trainings right now since coming over to the Atlanta Braves, but let's just relax, people. Alex Anthopoulos knows exactly what he is doing. He meticulously built this roster with a championship in mind. No, it will not be a platoon in left field, as this is Kelenic's job, so long as he does not lose it...

This has been the case ever since he debuted with his first big-league team in the Seattle Mariners a few years ago. It takes a little time for Kelenic to get cooking. He is not alone in having slow starts. Just look at how bad of an April Marcell Ozuna had for Atlanta last year. All it took was one swing down in Miami to completely change the trajectory of his season, and his Braves career as well.

There was another left-handed hitter who notoriously got off to slow starts for years in Atlanta. Oh, you hate him alright, Braves Country. Yes, I am talking about Adam LaRoche. The guy who looked like he would rather be doing anything else than standing in the batter's box during his Atlanta career. Apparently, he did care, but he most cared about keeping his son in a locker room and out of school.

In between the perpetual headaches at first, LaRoche would occasionally catch fire in the second half. That is what we can only hope for when it comes to Kelenic over in left field for the 2024 Braves.

If Jarred Kelenic gets off to a slow start for the Atlanta Braves, so what?

There are three things I care about when it comes to Kelenic's first two months of regular-season baseball with the Braves. One, stay healthy. Two, play great defense in left field. And three, be a good teammate. If he can do those three things, then he will feel right at home playing for the perennial power over in the National League East. He faces some pressure coming over, but it is not a ton either.

One of the huge advantages of coming over from a losing franchise to a winning one is you put a little more pep in your step. Seattle has been markedly better ever since the dawn of the Julio Rodriguez era, but the M's hadn't been to a postseason for 20-plus years prior to his arrival. In Atlanta, you are expected to win upwards of 100 games, win the NL East, and do your best to not lose in the first round.

With a plethora of All-Stars backing him up in the field and in the batting order, Kelenic has enough support to find out exactly where he fits on this here Atlanta team. One thing I have loved about this club over the last few years is how seamlessly newcomers have fit into the team. Matt Olson and Sean Murphy are among the latest to be right at home. I expect Kelenic and Chris Sale to be, too.

Even if Kelenic's OBP hovers around .300 for the first third of the season, all I care about is October.

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