Key Stats: If we took Jennings’ 63 game output last season and stretched it over a full 162 game schedule we have a rookie that provides us with 26 HR, 113 Runs, 64 RBI and 51 steals. His power and speed have been hyped all through his career in the minors and it seemed that he didn’t miss a beat when he made the jumps to the bigs last year. He is the kind of player that makes Rays fans say “Carl who?”
Skeptics Say: People talk about his power and 10 homers in 280 AB’s isn’t half bad, but in the minors he only showed us double digit power once coming in 2011 before he was called up. While that is true, in 2009 he had a combined 11 HR’s across AA and AAA. His power isn’t totally unexpected and a lot of guys take a little while to develop a power stroke. What kind of concerns me is the “paltry” .303 BABIP. Someone with his speed needs to get that a lot higher. We can’t be too hard on him though, he was a rookie.
Peer Comparison: I mentioned him once briefly, but I think the best person to compare Jennings to is ex-Ray Carl Crawford. On paper they are both similar guys with above average power, really good speed and good defense (not that we care about defense in fantasy, but a third similarity just seemed to fit there).
In Crawford’s best season, he was a 7.6 WAR player with a .307 Avg, 19 HR, 110 R, 90 RBI and 47 steals. His BABIP that year was .342. He had two season with a WAR over 5.
As stated above, Jennings could have gone 26 HR, 113 R, 64 RBI and 51 steals. His WAR as a rookie in 162 games could have been 6.2. In Crawford’s 2002 rookie season he had 11 less plate appearances than Jennings and managed a .6 WAR.
The potential for him to turn into the type of player Crawford was is there and is practically expected. When we look and see that Jennings has typically walked more than Crawford has as well, that starts to get me thinking he should (at some point) surpass him.
Team Outlook: The Rays have a great pitching staff, great defense, and enough offense to remain competitive in the AL East again. They are young and are in a position to be competitive for a long time.
Projection: A jump in BABIP is going to be a welcomed sight, but we may want to temper our power expectations. Expect a lot of runs, but not so many RBI. There will be stolen bases galore.
.276 AVG, 15 HR, 110 Runs, 58 RBI, 50 steals, .368 OBP, .792 OPS in 680 AB