With the 2017 Draft fast approaching (Monday to Wednesday on MLB Network and MLB.com), we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class.Name: Jeren KendallPosition: OFSchool: VanderbiltRank on Draft Top 200: 6DOB: 2/4/1996Bats: L Throws: RHeight: 5' 10" Weight: 180 lbs.:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::Tools
With the 2017 Draft fast approaching (Monday to Wednesday on MLB Network and MLB.com), we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class.
Name: Jeren Kendall
Rank on Draft Top 200: 6
Bats: L Throws: R
Height: 5' 10" Weight: 180 lbs.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
(Future grades on 20-80 scouting scale)
Top 20 Draft Prospects profiles
Kendall had some of the most intriguing tools among high school players in the 2014 Draft, and he would have gone in the top three rounds had he not been set on attending Vanderbilt. Three years after turning down the Red Sox as a 30th-round selection, he easily has the best all-around tools of any college player in the 2017 Draft. He showcased his abilities with the U.S. collegiate national team last summer, leading the squad in hits (20), extra-base hits (10), RBIs (14) and steals (five), and he set a career high this spring with 15 homers entering NCAA tournament play.
A fast-twitch athlete with five-tool potential, Kendall stands out most with his plus-plus speed and also possesses deceptive strength. He has learned to incorporate his lower half in his left-handed swing while at Vanderbilt and has good balance at the plate. There's more swing and miss in Kendall's game than scouts would like, leading to some concerns about his pitch recognition and whether he'll reach his offensive upside.
There are no worries about Kendall's defense because he has the instincts and quickness to cover both gaps. He also knows how to use his speed on the bases. Kendall's overall game draws comparisons to that of Jacoby Ellsbury, though his arm is significantly stronger.
MLB comp: Ellsbury or Corey Patterson
Fun fact: Kendall lists Ted, Blue Streak and Rush Hour as his favorite movies, and Family Guy and House as his favorite TV shows. Denzel Washington is his favorite actor, and Kendall says he'd be an actor himself if he weren't an athlete. But his choice of "actor" to play him in a movie? Former Vandy teammate and current Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.
He said it: "Thinking of it that way is kind of sad. Obviously I know this could possibly be my last time playing with this team. But it's exciting. I'm not really looking ahead. We're just going through this process as slow as we can and taking advantage of every moment with each other."
-- On the 2017 NCAA Tournament potentially being his last
They said it: "Jeren emerged as a key component of our 2015 Omaha team as a freshman and has steadily grown as a player. His physical skills are different, uncommon and fun to watch. He can impact a game with his feet, glove, arm and bat. His best baseball is ahead of him for sure."
-- Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.