Monday, January 26, 2009

Top 15 Hitters: #3 Desmond Jennings

Desmond Jennings
Desmond Jennings
6’2’’ 180 lbs 10/30/1986
2008: Vero Beach/AFL
Acquired: 2006 Draft, Round 10

The best athlete in the system, Desmond Jennings burst onto the prospect scene with a breakout performance for Columbus in 2007. Named by Baseball America as the South Atlantic League’s Top Prospect after 2007, Jennings was poised to continue his rise through the minors before injuries derailed his 2008 campaign.

Signed out of Itawamba CC for $150,000, Jennings was a standout both on the diamond and on the football field, where he earned JuCo All-American honors as a wide receiver in 2005. Jennings’ 2007 was excellent. He hit .315/.401/.465 with 9 homers and 45 steals for Columbus in 2007. His season was cut short after 99 games due to a meniscus tear in his knee, which required season ending surgery. The injury would foreshadow more troubles in 2008. Jennings suffered a back injury early in 2008 that forced him to miss the first two months of the minor league season. When he finally returned to action with Vero Beach, Jennings played only 24 games before being sidelined for the rest of the year with a left shoulder injury that required surgery. In those 24 games Jennings posted a vital of .259/.360/.412, although the shoulder injury likely limited his production. By the end of the season Jennings was healthy and was sent to the AFL where he appeared in just 12 games as part of the taxi squad for the Peoria Javelinas.

Jennings’ tools all rate as average or better. An excellent defensive outfielder, Jennings uses his elite speed to chase down balls in center and has an average arm. At the plate he has the ability to drive the ball to all fields and has some power potential, although it has not shown up in games yet. Jennings’ strike zone judgement is also exceptional as he works counts well and isn’t afraid to take a walk. His willingness to take pitches and get on base coupled with elite speed makes Jennings a model leadoff hitter.

He’ll open 2009 with the Rays FSL affilliate, the Charlotte County Stone Crabs. A midseason callup is not out of the question. If Jennings can stay healthy, he will likely re-establish himself as one of the minors top outfield prospects in 2009 and could be knocking on the door of the majors by 2010.


  1. Desmond Jennings is not the best athlete in the system. Not as long as Fernando Perez is still a Ray.

  2. Maybe but Perez is not the greatest

  3. Desmond may not be the best but he's the greatest