Dodgers Prospect Jeren Kendall: Don’t worry about the K’s
Jeren Kendall, the newly signed 21-year-old outfielder out of Vanderbilt, has a lot to offer his new club.
After having just cashed his $2.9 million check, the 23rd overall pick in the draft is ready to start his journey to the Dodgers. There’s a lot to like here from Kendall.
The young man has more tools than a hardware store. His blazing speed is probably his most eye-popping asset. The speed demon has received the rare 80 grade in the wheel department from scouts in the past. It’s the highest mark a prospect can be given. He also possesses a cannon for an arm and enough power to conceivably become a 25 plus homer guy in his peak. J.K. is no joke.
David Hood, Dodger prospect Guru extraordinaire, recently gave his rundown of Kendall:
"”Kendall has 80-grade speed and plenty of speed production on offense. His speed is put to use in centerfield, where he will also show a 70-grade arm. A twitchy athlete, Kendall has outstanding power production for an up the middle player and presently grades above average in raw power. His plus bat speed and the impact he can put on the baseball should make him productive offensively even with some contact concerns.”"
Everyone will tell you that they are concerned with Kendall’s strikeout numbers during his college days. That area of his game will need some work. The current Dodger lineup isn’t exactly lacking in K’s themselves with several players bound to eclipse the century strikeout mark. Names like Pederson, Puig, Bellinger, Grandal, Taylor, and even Seager are all looking like they will strike out more than 100 times this season. Even so, the Dodgers look to eclipse the century mark in wins and remain a postseason favorite.
More from Dodgers Prospects
- Which Dodgers top prospects deserve to crack 2023 Opening Day roster?
- 5 Dodgers prospects that should undoubtedly be on 2023 roster
- Dodgers’ James Outman has simple explanation for 2022 power surge
- Dodgers continue being one step ahead as 2022 draft pick is mashing
- Dodgers still dominating Baseball America prospect rankings with MLB’s best record
While strikeouts aren’t preferred from a leadoff hitter, people shouldn’t confuse strikeouts with an inability to get on base. Kendall sported an impressive OPS, close to .950 during his time at Vanderbilt. With great power, comes great strikeout totals. That can be said for all of Major League Baseball, as homers and strikeouts are at an all time high across baseball. Strikeouts just aren’t that big of a deal anymore, certainly not when combined with all the other skills Kendall has.
George Springer, of the AL-pounding Houston Astros, is having a pretty solid season if you haven’t noticed. He’s on pace for 40 homers and an OPS over 1.000, all from the leadoff spot. Springer will also be striking out 150-160 or so times this year, but the Astros don’t seem to mind. Why should they when they’re also on pace for over 100 wins?
If all goes according to plan, Kendall could very well become a player quite similar to Springer, possessing greater speed but a bit less power. Of course, at his age, the newly drafted Kendall is probably at least three years away from appearing in the majors. Who knows what the Dodgers’ lineup will look like then or what the team’s needs will be?
I’ll say that Kendall isn’t the type of prospect a team should trade. The young man looks poised to make a significant impact in several facets of the game. Kendall should also look to keep Joc Pederson honest, whose mammoth home runs are almost enough to make you forget about his slipping defense and frustrating inconsistency.
I can see Kendall slide right in at the top of this Dodger lineup quite smoothly in a couple of years. Don’t worry about the strikeouts. When you figure to be a team that regularly wins over a 100 games, who cares if you strike out some? The Astros don’t. The Dodgers certainly don’t.