Jeren Kendall | OF
Three years ago the now 21-year-old Kendall was a potential top three rounds talent who slipped to the Red Sox in the 30th round because he was dead set on attending Vanderbilt. In his three years with the Commodores, Kendall is a career .309/.390/.558 hitter with 32 homers and 65 steals in 178 games. That includes a .306/.380/.570 line with 15 homers and 18 steals in 56 games this spring.
Thanks to a wide array of high-end tools, Kendall came into this year as a serious candidate to go first overall. He’s an outstanding runner who uses his speed to steal bases and run down balls in center field. Kendall also has a strong throwing arm. His bat speed and power potential from the left side of the plate are both very exciting, plus he has a disciplined approach at the plate. It’s a true five-tool package. The big concern with Kendall is the abundance of swing-and-miss in his game. He’s struck out in 24.1% of his plate appearances with Vanderbilt, including 25.0% this spring. That is simply way too much for a top college hitter. There is legitimate worry Kendall will require a complete swing overhaul before he can reach his considerable offense ceiling against advanced pro pitching. The tools are very loud. Kendall has star potential. But he’s also quite risky.
After coming into the spring as a potential No. 1 pick, Kendall has slipped in the various draft rankings these last few weeks. That said, he still ranks quite highly. MLB.com ranks him as the sixth overall prospect in this year’s draft class while Keith Law (subs. req’d) has him tenth and Baseball America has him 17th. The Yankees pick 16th. If you’re looking for a top talent who could potentially fall, this is the guy. He won’t fall due to bonus concerns through. If Kendall falls, it’ll be because teams aren’t convinced he’ll hit at the next level.