Many people questioned why the Rays kept Desmond Jennings at Triple-A for so long, allowing the speedy outfielder to rack up 230 games and nearly 1,000 plate appearances in parts of three seasons in Durham, but now that he’s in the majors the 24-year-old rookie is thriving.
Jennings got some brief action in Tampa Bay last season, but through nine games since his call-up last month he’s batting .333 with six walks and five stolen bases. He’s gotten on base 19 times in nine games for a .463 on-base percentage and five of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases, which is good for a .576 slugging percentage.
He’ll eventually come back down to earth, but Jennings ranked 22nd on Baseball America‘s annual list of top prospects coming into the season and earned the long-awaited promotion by hitting .283 with a .374 OBP and 69 steals in 230 games at Triple-A. If/when the Rays trade B.J. Upton it figures that Jennings will take over for him as the long-term center fielder, but for now he’ll flank Upton as the Rays hope Jennings can be a poor man’s (or at least young man’s) Carl Crawford in left field.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.