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Dodgers Farm-Hand Fridays: Breaking Down Jeren Kendall

Jun 15, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores runner Jeren Kendall (3) rounds the bases after hitting the game-winning homer against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the ninth inning in the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Vanderbilt won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Every Friday, we will be doing a profile and analysis of a farmhand on our team. We will look at their background, the kinds of future projections scouts generally have about them, associated risk with them booming or busting, and then our personal take on what they will most likely become as a ball player. We will do one a week up until pitchers and catchers report, and will be counting down our top ten prospects (more or less who I see to be our top ten).

Previous Prospects: #10 Dennis Santana; #9 Will Smith; #8 DJ Peters; #7 Yusniel Diaz

Today we are covering our #6 Jeren Kendall.

The Basics

  • Name: Jeren Kendall
  • DOB/Age: March 28, 1996 – 21 years old
  • Height/Weight: 6’0″/190lbs
  • Home State/Country: Wisconson
  • Highest Level Reached: Low-A Great Lakes
  • On the 40-Man Roster: No
  • ETA: 2021

Other Notable Rankings

  • Baseball America: #7
  • Baseball Prospectus: #8
  • MLB.com: #4 (#73 in Top 100)
  • TrueBlueLA: #7
  • Dodgers Digest: #7 (mid-season)

Risk Level

(1-10, with 1 being very low, and 10 being very high)

10 – Kendall is the quintessential boom or bust prospect. He has all 5-tools and could be an All-Star center-fielder, or he could be nothing more than a speedy outfield prospect that plays decent defense and barely sniffs the Majors. Plain and simple with Kendall you will either get all or nothing with him. But the ceiling is so high that he is rated ahead of less risky prospects like Diaz and Peters.

The Past

Jeren Kendall is the Dodgers’ first round pick (23rd overall) in the 2017 draft out of Vanderbilt. He has been recognized as a top-tier talent even since graduating high school. His tools have always had scouts drooling and heaping on praise. In fact many scouts raved that out of everyone in the 2017 draft Kendall had the best overall tools, even labeling him the only true 5-tool draftee. He would have likely been a top 10, or even top 5, pick but his strikeout numbers raised concern.

Kendall consistently flashed each of his tools at Vanderbilt, but at times has raised concerns primarily because he has some swing and miss in his batting approach, part of that may be due to the fact that he has a lot of movement prior to the pitch being released. Many scouts feel that quieting his load before the pitch would go a long way to allowing him more time for pitch recognition before starting his swing. Either way he has long been called an “explosive player” with top-notch raw tools.

The Present

In 2017, he played mostly at Single-A Great Lakes (35 of 40 games). While his triple-slash wasn’t anything special (.253/.311/.444) he still showcased all 5 of his tools there. Stealing only 9 out of 17 bags shows how raw he is, but the speed is there for him to steal 40+ bags in the future. The 8 triples alone should be an eye catcher that he has top-end speed.

Despite only having 40 games under his belt as a pro, the tools are so tantalizing that he is universally ranked in the Dodgers’ top 10. He has popped up on many top 100 prospect lists as well. This is all purely based on his raw talent and the potentially very high ceiling. He is about as athletic and toolsy as any prospect comes, so his performance and ability to improve the weaker areas of his game will determine where he goes in the future.

The Future

There are few prospects in the Dodgers system that can match the excitement and anxiousness Jeren Kendall brings. It will be very interesting to see where the Dodgers assign him to start 2018. A lot of that will be contingent on how much they want to challenge him. If they decide to challenge him and assign him to High-A at Rancho Cucamonga he will have high expectations.

It goes without saying that this year will be the year that makes or breaks Kendall’s prospect status. He can either further solidify himself as a top 100 overall prospect. Or he could falter and see himself fall out of nearly every top 10 prospect list for the Dodgers. With even the smallest of steps forward he could see his value climb further. But in order to do so, he’d have to repeat, or improve on, his performance from 2017 at the next level.

Jeren Kendall right now is the only true 5-tool prospect in the Dodgers system. Because of that he generates tons of excitement. However, that reward is certainly not without risk with him. The ceiling and floors are so opposite that it really seems that he is a true all or nothing prospect.

Written by Blake Coble

Born and raised in SoCal and bled Blue my whole life. Absolutely love baseball and absolutely love the Boys in Blue! I have a fascination with analyzing the statistics and trends that drive player performance, and I love following our minor league prospects as well! Active duty Air Force currently stationed in Central California! Follow me on Twitter @yarritsblake

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