Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dodgers Pick Outfielder Jeren Kendall in the First Round - Welcome to the Blue!

Yesterday was the day when big league dreams become more of a reality. Thousands of youngsters, from high school graduates to college aged kids, had been glued to their televisions in hopes of hearing their name. For one Team USA and Vanderbilt University ballplayer his wait is over. With the 23rd pick overall the Dodgers chose outfielder Jeren Kendall. Per a Dodgers press release:
The 6-foot, 190-pound left-handed hitting outfielder posted a .307 (80-for-261) batting average with 10 doubles, five triples, 15 home runs, 53 RBI and stole 20 bases in 2017 as a junior at Vanderbilt. He led the team in runs scored (59), hits and home runs, while posting a .372 on-base percentage and a .556 slugging percentage. Kendall, 21, was rated by Baseball America as the sixth-best outfielder in the 2017 draft and was the 18th overall prospect. He was also named to the All-SEC and All-Defensive Team this season with the Commodores.

“We’re super excited to be able to select Jeren,” said Dodger Director, Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino. “He is a multi-tooled player that can do a lot of things with both sides of the ball. He is coming from a great program and great makeup, we would love to have him as part of this organization and we are excited to be able to select him.”

Kendall’s father, Jeremey Kendall, was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 26th round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft and played in the Phillies organization for five seasons.
You can follow Jeren on twitter, although he isn't particularly active: @JerenKendall. He is active on Instagram. Follow him here: @Jeren_Kendall3. Furthermore, Kendall already has a bunch of Baseball cards available on the market, so stay tuned for a future post highlighting them all.

John Sickels at Minor League ball named Jeren Kendall the "top hitting prospect in the college ranks." Per his report in March:
Speed and simple athleticism are the key parts of Kendall’s game: he’s a 70-grade runner with excellent instincts; it isn’t hard to imagine him stealing 30-40 bases per year in the majors, assuming he gets on base enough (more on that in a moment). His throwing arm earns 55 or 60 grades depending on the source, and his ability to read the ball makes him perhaps the top defensive outfielder in college baseball. There’s no question about his ability to handle center field at higher levels.

Kendall has power, too, with plenty of wiry strength giving him 50 or 55 raw power. He hasn’t had trouble getting to that power in college ball, although his track record with wooden bats in the Cape Cod League is less robust.
Below are more links focused on the newest Dodger:
A fast-twitch athlete with five-tool potential, Kendall stands out most with his plus-plus speed and also possesses deceptive strength. He has learned to incorporate his lower half in his left-handed swing while at Vanderbilt and has good balance at the plate. There’s more swing and miss in Kendall’s game than scouts would like, leading to some concerns about his pitch recognition and whether he’ll reach his offensive upside.
That’s one quirk. Here’s another: Much like the late artist Prince, Kendall has become synonymous with a symbol. A Panda emoji. He’s used it in all of his Instagram captions for a year now. His intrasquad team in fall practice was named Team Panda. He’s not sure where the panda came from. Seriously. He has no explanation for it.

“I’ve just been a huge fan,” he said, laughing. “I don’t really know why I do it.”
Here's what Jim Callis at MLB.com said about him:
I know the industry soured on Kendall a bit because of his strikeout rate at Vanderbilt, but I love this pick at No. 23, and personally, would have taken him in the top 10. Yes, he swings and misses, as evidenced by his 74 whiffs in 261 at-bats, but he has the best tools in the college ranks, and he's been a very productive player at a top program. He has a chance to be a 15-HR, 30-steal guy while playing a quality center field.
In honor of his selection by the Dodgers I decided to make a couple fantasy Baseball cards of him.  For the card on the left I used a photo taken from D1Baseball.com and the 1991 Topps Baseball card design.  For the card on the right I grabbed another photo taken from NCAA.com (when he blasted a walk-off off of my alma mater, Cal State Fullerton in 2015) and the 1983 Topps Baseball card design.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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