Monday, February 7, 2011

Top 15 Hitters: #1 Desmond Jennings

Desmond Jennings
6'0" 185 lbs DOB: 10/30/1986
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
2010: Durham/Tampa Bay
Acquired: 2006 Draft, 10th round

Jennings wasn't able to quite live up to the hype that his 2009 season created, but his tools still grade out well even if his ultimate ceiling has come down a bit. The biggest question his entire career has been health, and he missed some time early last year due to a wrist injury. He returned to action pretty quickly, but there's a chance it affected his hitting for at least part of the season; in particular, his power, as he hit just three home runs all season.

His best asset at the plate is still his keen eye, which he uses to get on base at an above-average rate. Combined with his plus speed, he profiles as a top-of-the-order bat. He hit .278 with a .362 OBP in Durham last season, below his career averages of .299 and .384. Notice now the difference in each category was nearly the same (.021 and .022 points), so his isolated discipline was almost the same, it's just the batting average that fell. He uses to speed to not only steal bases but do it efficiently. He swiped 37 bags last year and was caught only four times.

Defensively, he has well above-average range and could play very good major league defense right now, easily. His arm is only average, so if centerfield is blocked when he's promoted, he would slide over to left. The signings of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez all but mean Jennings will start the year back in triple-A, but if he hits as he did in 2009 (and stays healthy), he'll carve out a spot in the majors before too long. The 2010 season raised some questions about his power, so he may not be as good an all-around hitter as it once seemed. He's athletic and strong but probably won't develop more than average power at this point. But because of his defense and on-base skills, he still looks like a future above-average regular.


  1. Nice writeup.

    I am just curious about one thing. You mentioned that Jenning's ceiling might be lower. Why is that? Technically, ceiling is the player's potential. I don't see why that has gone down because he suffered some injuries this year. I would say that the chance of him reaching his ceiling is down, but not his actual ceiling. Just my thoughts.

  2. I think because his power is more of a question mark and I don't think that's entirely attributable to the wrist injury.