Heyward vs Jennings

I probably shouldn’t have to tell anyone this, but smashing cars is not a fantasy baseball statistic. Not in standard leagues anyway. So while everyone is getting all hot n bothered over Ironbat Heyward, MDS is drooling over Desmond Jennings. While Jason Heyward has 35/20 potential down the road, Jennings has 10/50 potential right now. I’m talking Carl Crawford with plate discipline… right now, as in 2010.

It’s likely both prospects start the season in AAA, but they shouldn’t be there long. Heyward has to get past Matt Diaz or Melky Cabrera and Jennings is blocked by Matt Joyce and Gabe Kapler. Heyward will likely up sooner, but Jennings’ speed will translate much faster than Heyward’s power. With Maddon coaching and Jennings ability to get on base, you know he’ll be scorching the base paths.

from MLB Prospects:

1) Desmond Jennings (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) ETA: Mid-2010

One of the most exciting prospects in baseball, Jennings has a real chance at making the most fantasy impact of any rookie this year. After battling injuries in 2007 and 2008, Jennings finally stayed healthy in 2009, and hit .318-11-62 with 52 stolen bases and a .419 OBP between Double and Triple-A. A true five-tool talent, Jennings also has the ability to develop into a five-category fantasy stud, as many scouts believe he will develop 15-20 homerun power. Desmond will likely start the year in Triple-A, but considering he only has to outplay Matt Joyce and Gabe Kapler to join the Rays’ outfield, he will probably be up for good by June. If he gets 400 ABs, Jennings could hit .290-5-40 with around 35 stolen bases in 2010. As he progresses in his career, he should become remarkably similar to the man who will flank him in the outfield: Carl Crawford. Needless to say, Crawford-type players are extremely valuable in the fantasy world, and don’t often last to far into the third-round of any drafts. Fantasy owners should watch Jennings closely in spring training, and if it looks like he’s going to break Tampa’s roster in April, he’s a solid late-round pick in all leagues.

Between 100 games at AA and 32 at AAA, Jennings posted an OBP of .395 and .419 respectively. If you sit in the middle of Bill James’ and CHONE’s projections, he’d have a .350 OBP this season. Carl Crawford posted a .365 OBP in 2009 and sports a career .335 OBP. As Jennings gains more experience his BB% will climb and in a few years he’ll be better than Crawford.

I’m not trying to downplay Jason Heyward, but in 2010 Desmond Jennings has more value per game.