How Acquired: Drafted in the 1oth round of the 2006 amateur draft
2008 – Vero Beach (Florida State League – Rays High-A) – 24 games
- 2 homeruns, 5 rbi, 6 stolen bases
- 14 walks, 16 strikeouts
2009 – Montgomery (Southern League – Rays AA) – 100 games
- 8 homeruns, 45 rbi, 37 stolen bases
- 48 walks, 52 strikeouts
2009 – Durham (International League – Rays AA) – 32 games
- 3 homeruns, 17 rbi, 15 stolen bases
- 19 walks, 15 strikeouts
2009 Totals (2 levels) – 132 games
- 11 homeruns, 62 rbi, 52 stolen bases
- 67 walks, 67 strikeouts
Baseball America – #1 (TAM – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – #1 (TAM – 2010) – 5 star
Project Prospect – #7 (Position Players – 9/2009), #1 (CF – 11/2009)
John Sickels – #1 (TAM – 2010) – A
Jennings spent a large portion of his 2008 season not playing, suffering from injuries to his back and his left shoulder. Once he came back, he did the thing he does best: steal bases, going 5 for 7 in just 24 games. His hitting didn’t really come around as much during that season, although his ability to draw a walk remained.
Despite the injuries and the slightly poor showing, he was promoted to AA Montgomery to start the 2009 season. From there, he just went off, posting a .316/.395/.486 line with 37 stolen bases and an excellent walk-to-strikeout rate. He was promoted on August 1st, and continued to tear up the AAA level just as much as he had earlier in the season. He posted a .325/.419/.491 clip, while stealing 15 more bases in only 32 games.
Jennings has been getting a lot of comparisons to another speedster on his team, Carl Crawford. So I wanted to see what Crawford’s minor league numbers looked like in comparison.
Crawford is actually not as good of a comparison as I initially thought he might be. Crawford played his last game in the minors in 2002, at age 20. So he was 3 years younger than Jennings is now when he made the show. But what do the stats show?
Speed: Crawford always stole bases very well in the minors, stealing 134 bases and getting caught 41 times in 401 minor league games. Jennings: 134 SB, 29 CS in 311 games
Power: Crawford posted a career high .456 slugging percentage his last year in the minors. Jennings: .487 last year between AA and AAA.
Eye: Crawford has never been known as a particularly patient hitter, posting his career high for walks last season with 51 (a walk rate of 7.8%). Jennings posted a walk rate of 14.3% last season, his career high. He also has not posted a rate below 10% in the last 3 seasons.
The part I have to remind myself is that comparing Crawford’s minor league numbers against Jennings is not a really fair comparison, as Jennings is 3 years older than Crawford was when he played at AAA. That said, Jennings projects to be a very good outfielder at the Major League level.
Jennings will most likely start the 2010 season back at AAA, barring a very impressive Spring Training. I have to imagine that they are likely to want to keep his arbitration clock from starting too soon if they can avoid it, as he is likely to cost quite a bit come the 5th and 6th years of his career.
Jennings looks like a prototypical leadoff hitter: a lot of speed, the ability to draw a walk, and minimize strikeouts. The Rays’ outfield of Crawford, B.J. Upton, and Jennings, looks like a very fast, excellent fielding outfield that could potentially be together for a long time (if they can sign Crawford to an extension).
Projection for 2010
.285/.365/.450, 5 homeruns, 35 rbi, 35 stolen bases (Majors – 3 months)
2010. No later than the All-Star Break.
Tomorrow’s Prospect for Review: Jason Heyward (OF) of the Atlanta Braves