The Next Big Thing: Desmond Jennings

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Last week Rays outfield prospect Desmond Jennings was named MVP of the Double-A Southern League despite earning a promotion to Triple-A a month ago.
Last night, in his 29th game at Triple-A, Jennings tied an International League record by going 7-for-7 as the Durham Bulls clinched a playoff spot.
He had what baseball analysts typically refer to as a really awesome week.
Jennings was limited to just 24 games last season because of back and shoulder injuries, but the former 10th-round pick has bounced back in a huge way this year and is often compared to current Rays outfielder Carl Crawford.
It’s easy to see why, because like Crawford he’s a former standout football player who offers an amazing blend of physical tools that revolve around tremendous athleticism and blazing speed.
Jennings has hit .322 with 11 homers, 31 doubles, and 10 triples in 128 games between Double-A and Triple-A, swiping 52 bases while being caught just seven times. In a recent Baseball America managers poll he was named the Southern League’s fastest baserunner, best baserunner, best defensive outfielder, and most exciting player, which certainly fits with the Crawford comparison.
One area where he has a leg up on Crawford is plate discipline and strike-zone control, as Jennings has an excellent 66/66 K/BB ratio in 563 plate appearances. By comparison, prior to this year Crawford had never drawn even 40 walks in any season, minors or majors. Any prospect whose ceiling can even optimistically be described as “Carl Crawford with plate discipline” has a chance to be a very special player.

J.P. Crawford to miss four to six weeks with fractured left hand

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Phillies infielder J.P. Crawford was hit on the left hand by a Luke Weaver fastball in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s 7-6 loss to the Cardinals. He’s headed to the disabled list, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Crawford will miss four to six weeks, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki adds.

Crawford, 23, was on the disabled list earlier this season between April 29 and June 5 with a strained right forearm. He played in only 13 games before having to go back on the DL. In 112 plate appearances this season, Crawford is hitting .194/.312/.333 with a pair of home runs, eight RBI, and 14 runs scored.

Since his return, Crawford had been functioning in more of a superutility role, drawing starts at both shortstop and third base. While Crawford is mending his injury, Scott Kingery should get regular starts at shortstop while Maikel Franco maintains the starting job at third base.