1st RD Pick 23 – Jeren Kendall OF – Vanderbilt University
The Dodgers got an absolute steal in the first round with the selection of Jeren Kendall. Kendall was the sixth-best player in the draft according to mlb.com and was initially projected to go in the top ten picks of the draft. Kendall brings elite speed, defense, and power potential to the Dodgers with the possibility of playing centerfield.
The concern with Kendall is that he strikes out too much, so the Dodgers will try to shorten up his swing in an attempt to have him make contact more. When he does make contact, the ball flies off his bat, and he has the wheels to turn singles into doubles routinely. At the major league level, he should be a prolific base stealer who steals 20-30 bases a season on average.
Defensively he can play all three outfield positions but would be the biggest asset in center field since he has elite range due to his speed. He also has a strong throwing arm and is a true five-tool player. While he is a risk to be a bust, there are no guarantees in the draft, so it’s wise to pick a player with so many tools like Kendall. The major league comparison for Jeren Kendall would be Jacoby Ellsbury since he has the same combo of power and speed.