Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings was one of the most anticipated outfield prospects (not named Mike Trout or Bryce Harper) to come out of the minors over the last several seasons. He has an innate power-speed combo that is coveted in fantasy circles and ironically has a very similar skill set to his Tampa counterpart, B. J. Upton.
However, in 132 injury-plagued games last year, Jennings had a batting average of .246 and only hit a meager 13 home runs. Many fantasy owners expected him to post much better numbers, but the 26-year-old missed a fair amount of time nursing hamstring and knee injuries. His disappointing 2012 performance will cause him to fall drastically this spring in fantasy drafts, but do not let this speedster pass you by.
Jennings is hands down one of the fastest outfielders in the game. Jennings’ 31 stolen bases last season was just a glimpse of his potential to rack up stolen bases, as he easily has the speed to reach 50 steals in the upcoming year. Tampa Bay just has to be dedicated to letting him run when he gets on base, but the team has always been conservative with their base runners in the past.
Jennings is still one of the most versatile outfielders in the game. He has shown an amazing ability to swipe bags, but also has surprising pop for a speed guy. Jennings is notorious for hitting the ball into the upper deck when he finally makes contact with one, which is something that most leadoff hitters simply do not have the power to do.
Jennings will be a great third fantasy outfielder and could easily put together All-Star numbers in Tampa this season. The left fielder has the ability to become a 50 SB – 30 HR guy, but he just needs to play a full season to produce respectable numbers.
He will fall well outside of the top 50 fantasy players in 2013, making him a great value pick anywhere after the tenth round. Jennings will hit more, steal more, and will put up much better fantasy numbers in 2013, so do not shy away from DJ this upcoming fantasy season.
2013 Fantasy Prediction: .289 Avg., 23 HRs, 12 3Bs, 45 SBs, 93 RBI