“He’s got every tool you need to be a longtime All-Star big leaguer,” said David Berg, the manager of the West Virginia Power, where Kelenic played his first 50 games this season.
Berg, who played seven seasons in the majors, struggled to even name an established player comparable to Kelenic.
“I really don’t have one, because he’s really that good,” Berg said. “He hits the high fastball no problem. He’s got power to all fields. He’s got speed, great defense, arm strength. There’s nothing the kid can’t do. I don’t know what he’s going to turn into, but he’s one of the best talents I’ve ever seen.”
In every at-bat, Kelenic said, he tries to hit a home run to left-center field. He figures that his hands are quick enough to react to inside fastballs, even at 100 miles an hour, but if he thinks about driving the ball to left-center, he will stay back on breaking balls and maintain a compact swing. His initial home-run goal this season, he said, was 10. Now he wants to hit 30.
“That kid is special — and he knows it, too,” Dunn said. “That’s the cool part about it. He’ll let you know he knows it. So I give him a hard time, even when we were over there. But he’s special, and I’m glad to have to him on my team.”
The Mets took Dunn, 23, with the 19th overall pick out of Boston College in 2016. He is 5-3 with a 3.82 E.R.A. this season for Class AA Arkansas, with a career-high 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. He has attacked the strike zone more consistently, he said, with help from a changeup that Frank Viola taught him in the Mets’ farm system.