Hey guys, I took a run over to Hickory the other night to see the Crawdads (Rangers) take on the Rome Braves (Braves). Both of these teams are near the top of the league in terms of talent. More on the Braves later, this will be my third piece on a Crawdad player. I have previously written about shortstop Yeyson Yrizzari My 1st look at Yeyson Yrizarri SS, Hickory, and right hand pitcher Dillon Tate Scouting Dillon Tate, RHP, Hickory. Today I want to talk about center fielder Eric Jenkins.
Jenkins, age 19, listed 6’1″ 170 lbs (that looks accurate), bats left and throws right. Jenkins was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft out of high school in Cerro Gordo, NC (Rural, Eastern, NC).
Jenkins is very athletic, he has projection left but I wouldn’t anticipate more than another 10-15 lb’s of muscle because I think he’s destined to remain thin.
At the dish he has a closed, upright stance. He has a fast bat and a short linear stroke and he generates more power than you’d expect. He hit some shots in batting practice and I would rate the raw power at 50.
He’s trying to pull a lot more balls than he should right now, if he starts letting the ball travel deeper and sprays sharp grounders and low line drives around the diamond than he’ll begin to reach his potential with the bat. He’s starting his swing so early right now trying to get the bat head out to pull the ball he’s leaving himself susceptible to off speed pitches. This is a big reason his strikeouts are so high.
Not an over aggressive batter, he’ll take some pitches and work counts. This also contributes to the high strikeout totals. Too soon for me to say how well he picks up spin.
His speed is plus and he’s already a very good base stealer. I’ve seen 3 steals so far and he gets excellent jumps.
Defensively I haven’t gotten a great read yet on his route running. I’ve read he struggles a little bit with that but I haven’t gotten to see that in action yet. His throwing arm is weak.
Here we get several good looks at his swing courtesy of Tepi Participation (SB Nation’s Lonestar ball)(On Twitter @TepidP)
I’ve gotten a couple of looks at Jenkins so far, he reminds me a lot of a young Kenny Lofton. They’re very similar physically. Jenkins stands a bit taller in the batters box but they both have a short stroke with surprising pop and excellent wheels. Lofton always had excellent contact rates though. Jenkins has a lot of potential I’m hoping to see an approach change soon.