Jarred Kelenic may be the best high school player from Wisconsin to never play high school baseball. Because his high school team’s schedule didn’t begin until late May, he opted instead to hone his skills during summer travel ball and with USA Baseball squads.
On Monday, he was chosen as the No. 6 pick by the New York Mets, making him only the second high school player from the “America’s Dairyland” to be taken in the first round in the past 30 years, the other being shortstop Gavin Lux two years ago.
Kelenic plans to be ready for the moment. The Louisville signee graduated a semester early from Waukesha West (Waukesha) to prepare for the MLB draft, not always an easy thing during frigid Wisconsin winters and springs.
However, Kelenic has an edge. His family helped turn 70 acres of farmland into a 10-field complex, known as Infinity Fields/5 Diamonds. His family also has a stake in the Stiks Academy, which has a 33,000 square-foot indoor practice field and 11 batting tunnels and the NX Level sports training facility, where Lux and NFL brothers Derek and T.J. Watt have trained.
“I simply just say that ever since I was really young, I’ve had the highest expectations possible,” Kelenic told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When people tell me, ‘You have the chance to be No. 1, a first-round pick, top 10’ … I expect that out of myself. That’s who I am. But at the same time, it never really hit the public eye until the past two years.”
Scouts see the the 6-1, 195-pound center fielder’s as a five-tool player with power and he has been a standout for Team USA. Before his junior year, he led the USA Baseball to the gold medal at the Pan American Games and was named the tournament’s MVP. He also helped the U18 squad win a gold medal at the the Baseball World Cup last September in Thunder Bay, Canada.