Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings have kicked off, and while the rumors surrounding Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto continue to swirl, a trade did take place between the Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners. Former legendary prospect Jarred Kelenic headlines this deal and is by far the most prominent name in this trade for fantasy baseball managers. While MLB trade rumors will continue to pop up in the coming days, let’s break this deal down from a fantasy perspective, including what this will mean for Kelenic’s ADP in fantasy baseball drafts.
Jarred Kelenic Traded to the Atlanta Braves
As mentioned above, Kelenic headlines the deal, both for reality purposes and fantasy. For most of his career, he’s torched Minor League pitching but has struggled at the big league level. He experienced a resurgence in 2023, slashing .253/.327/.419 with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases across 105 games with the Mariners. There will always be some swing-and-miss in his game, but increased contact rates, primarily in the zone, allowed his other batted ball metrics to shine, notably his 90.9 mph average exit velocity, 9.5 percent barrel rate, and 45.5 percent hard-hit rate.
Kelenic gets a massive boost to his profile in his new lineup, given that he’ll hit in a lineup with Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley, amongst others. Beyond the lineup, he gets a nice boost in his home park, as over the last three years, Seattle ranked 30th overall for left-handed hitters, whereas Atlanta came in at 14th, including being very, very lucrative for left-handed power hitters. While he held his own against left-handed pitching last year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Atlanta deploy him in a platoon in the outfield, with Kelenic getting the lion’s share of the at-bats. This will come at the expense of Vaughn Grissom.
Kelenic’s ADP in fantasy baseball drafts is going to skyrocket. Given the new situation, as long as his ADP doesn’t get too inflated, he’s worth the shot, as we know just how fantasy-friendly this offense is and will be. Just be cautious about investing too early into someone who figures to operate in a platoon, at least to begin the year. So, keep an eye on where his ADP starts to settle in at, but in deeper formats, I’m fine trusting Kelenic as my third or, even better, fourth outfielder.
Other notes on this deal:
- Per Ken Rosenthal, veteran innings-eater Marco Gonzalez is likely to be a part of a future deal. The Braves will keep on dealing!
- 12/6 Update: Gonzalez was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- The Braves seem to want some insurance in their outfield, as the plan prior to this was deploying Vaughn Grisson in the outfield.
- Per Bet MGM, the Atlanta Braves are the current favorites to win the World Series, coming in at +650 at the time of writing