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Entries in Desmond Jennings (1)

Monday
Sep122011

Desmond Jennings and Selectivity

Desmond Jennings of the Tampa Bay Rays gave the Rays offense a boost since his arrival from the minor leagues.  The Rays team batting average only went up from .243 to .246, but their OBP jumped from .312 to .334, and the team slugging percentage rose to .419 from .394.  They were scoring 4.15 runs per game through July 22, but since they've averaged 4.64 runs per game.

Jennings brings excellent strike zone judgment to the Rays.  He seldom chases balls outside the strike zone.  The following table shows the 2011 major league players with the lowest chase percentage, minimum 200 PA.

 

BatterTeamPlate App.Chase Pct.OBPctWalk%
Daric Barton OAK 280 15.9% 0.325 13.9%
Chris Iannetta COL 401 17.1% 0.366 16.5%
Josh Willingham OAK 500 17.3% 0.330 9.8%
Scott Sizemore OAK 373 17.3% 0.336 11.8%
Jim Thome CLE 293 17.8% 0.345 13.7%
Ian Kinsler TEX 658 17.9% 0.352 12.0%
Bobby Abreu LAA 540 18.0% 0.358 13.9%
Kosuke Fukudome CLE 531 18.4% 0.352 10.7%
Mike Cameron FLA 268 18.6% 0.286 10.4%
Casey Blake LAD 239 18.7% 0.342 10.9%
Geovany Soto CHC 433 19.1% 0.314 10.2%
Jack Cust PHI 270 19.1% 0.344 16.3%
Desmond Jennings TB 213 19.1% 0.386 10.3%
Nick Swisher NYY 576 19.2% 0.379 15.6%
Lou Marson CLE 229 19.2% 0.308 9.6%
Yunel Escobar TOR 590 19.7% 0.369 10.3%
Todd Helton COL 487 19.8% 0.384 11.7%
Sam Fuld TB 343 19.8% 0.313 9.0%
Dustin Ackley SEA 313 19.8% 0.367 11.2%
Nate McLouth ATL 321 19.8% 0.344 13.7%

 

I like this list, because it shows that players with good judgment on balls outside the strike zone are not necessarily good hitters. Some players, like Sam Fuld, Lou Marson and Mike Cameron use their ability to recognize balls to compensate for poor hitting skills.  Chris Iannetta, Nick Swisher and Jack Cust use this ability to draw tons of walks and boost their OBP above league average.  Desmond is more like Dustin Ackley and Todd Helton, good hitters with good strike zone judgment.  They are not only good at recognizing pitches out of the strike zone, they are good at recognizing pitches they can hit and smacking them as well.  If Jennings can keep this up as the league learns his strengths and weakness, Rays fans won't miss Carl Crawford very much.