What will be the magic number for DeKalb County High School pitching prospect Steven Jennings?
The Major League Baseball draft begins Monday (June 12) night and Jennings is projected to go early in the second round (picks 37-75). Players are drafted based on team philosophy and team needs. Financial considerations also have an affect on where a player lands in the draft.
Jennings, signed to play college ball at Ole Miss, is ranked as the 47th overall prospect by mlb.com and 48th overall by Baseball America. Both slots have a “pick value” of over $1.4 million. The 47th pick belongs to the Los Angeles Angels and the 48th pick to the Colorado Rockies.
“His stock has risen so much that he could go as high as the second round,” according to the mlb.com website.
That report went on to say “Jennings didn’t spend much time on the showcase circuit because of his football commitments, so he has been a bit of a revelation. His loose, quick arm generates a fastball that sits at 89-92 mph. His hard slider can hit 85 mph and shows the upside of a plus offering and he also has unveiled a curveball that can be a solid breaking pitch as well. Though he hasn’t had much need for a changeup yet, Jennings shows aptitude for the pitch. He’s athletic and has an easy delivery, which enables him to throw strikes. He’s committed to Mississippi but figures to get drafted early enough to lure him away from the Rebels.”
The Baseball America scouting report says “Jennings’ fastball peaks out currently at 94 mph, and tends to stay around 91 or 92 mph. He throws a changeup with similar movement to his two-seam fastball, that pulls the string to 81. A slideball with nasty movement finishes out his repertoire.”
The report goes on to say “His fastball could gain a tick or two as he matures in his game …Developing a fourth pitch, such as a four-seam fastball would be beneficial to him as he matures as a player.”
The web site lastwordonbaseball.com summarizes the dilemma major league teams face when analyzing the draft prospects.
“High school pitchers are a crap shoot in the draft,” the website states. “Young arms that dominate high schools may not translate to the majors. A three-pitch right-hander might be a good gamble in the top 50 picks, and with the right offer, Steven Jennings might be worth the risk.”
High School phenom Hunter Greene in California and college prospects Brendan McKay of Louisville and Kyle Wright of Vanderbilt are projected to be among the first players picked Monday night.