Desmond Jennings Needs to Shine for Tampa Bay Rays in 2013

Desmond Jennings Celebrates a hit

Kim Klement- USA TODAY SPORTS

The Tampa Bay Rays were the only team in the MLB last season to win 90 or more games and not make the playoffs. With Evan Longoria hopefully healthy for the whole season the Rays are my favorites to come out of the American League in 2013.

Desmond Jennings is a player who the casual baseball fan may not know, but I assure you he will be a lynchpin to the Rays success in 2013. Last year he played in 132 games and was serviceable with 31 stolen bases and 124 hits. Jennings has the talent to be an All-Star in my mind and with B.J Upton signing with the Atlanta Braves this off-season the outfield leadership role has Jennings written all over it.

Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce will be the clubs corner outfielders and that is some pretty good company for Jennings as both are consummate professionals.

Negative attitude or not Upton brought a spark to the Rays and someone will have to make up for his production in the batters box and patrolling the outfield at Tropicana Field. Moving on, Jennings hit 13 home-runs last season and I expect that number to only increase as he becomes more and more comfortable with the big league game.

Jennings can expect to lose his leadoff role rather quick if the continues to hit .246 like he did last season as the Rays need someone in that spot who can get on for Longoria and the meat of this lineup to drive runs in. Aside from the average, Jennings looks like a prime candidate to lead this team to great heights, until, of course, he heads down the same path of Carl Crawford and Upton, leaving town for more cash.

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