Atlanta Braves Outfielder Thrives on First Day of New Roles

Atlanta Braves outfield Jarred Kelenic is being called on to do more with injuries taking their toll, and he answered in a big way.
Atlanta Braves outfielder Jarred Kelenic
Atlanta Braves outfielder Jarred Kelenic / Mady Mertens-USA TODAY Sports
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On Saturday, the Atlanta Braves offense came to life for the second day in a row with a resounding 9– 2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Truist Park. With home runs from three other teammates, the Braves' new leadoff man and center fielder, Jarred Kelenic started the offensive onslaught with a two-run shot to right-center field. He also set the tone for the game, showing his importance and contribution to the team's success. 

With Michael Harris III going to the IL and Ronald Acuña Jr. out for the remainder of the season, the three-year veteran has stepped up, taking on two-new roles for his club. Impressively, he's handling them with ease, showcasing his adaptability and potential in his first season with the Braves. 

On Saturday afternoon against the Rays, he went 3-5, including a home run and two singles. The 24-year-old has been a beacon of hope in a season with plenty of injuries, inconsistent offense, and out-of-the-norm baseball play for one of baseball’s best teams in the past five seasons. Thankfully, Kelenic’s work has not just helped them through the rough patches, but it's also boosted the team's morale and sparked a renewed offensive energy. 

Jarred Kelenic’s attitude is the spark the Braves offense needed. 

In a recent postgame interview with Bally Sports, the 24-year-old Wisconsin native gave some insight on maintaining competitive toughness despite the offense’s recent-dry spell before this current homestand beginning

"Any time negativity creeps in, you start to make emotional decisions whether it's swing decisions or mental decisions on what you're trying to do," Kelenic said after the game.

Essentially, he is saying that he and others are overthinking at the plate. As evidenced over the past few days, the offense has shifted its mindset to attacking opposing pitchers. 

The 6-1 left-handed batter has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters, boasting a .259 average – good enough for third-best behind Marcell Ozuna and Ozzie Albies. Additionally, his fielding prowess is a sight to see.

Overall, Kelenic plays with the right attitude and a good heart, and when all else fails, maximum effort can turn the tide. This has made his transition into new roles relatively easy thus far this season. 

CJ Errickson