Top 50 Prospects: #34 - Todd Jennings

Todd Jennings was a relatively quiet member of the 2005 California League champions, but held his own playing in the infield amongst other top prospects. So why has his stock taken a hit since moving there?

Date of Birth: 12/10/1981 Position: 3B Height: 6'0" Weight: 190 Bats: R Throws: R
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd Round (#55 Overall) of the 2003 Draft
2005 Stats
San Jose - High A .288 .321 .395 .716 504 64 145 22 1 10 67 23 77 7 5

Todd Jennings came out of 2003 looking pretty sunny as a prospect, a highly rated defensive catcher with a good bat-for-average tool in a system with a need for catchers as the prospects at the higher levels were having problems.

Unfortunately, that’s where things ended. The Giants, unsure of Jennings’ ability to stay healthy as an everyday catcher, moved Jennings to third (and pushed him to San Jose). The health worries may have been warranted, as Jennings suffered a strained shoulder after a number of struggles at High-A. But after a return to Salem-Keizer to rehab which showed some pop back in his bat, things were looking up.

The good news is that Jennings returned to San Jose, and served as one of the team’s primary third basemen and did fairly well, certainly better than 2004. The bad news was that he was primarily a third baseman and otherwise shuffled around the infield.

Jennings still has the ability to hit for average. He draws a fair number of walks and doesn’t strike out too often, and runs fairly well. But he really doesn’t have much power. Although he reached double digits in San Jose, which is a huge improvement, the California League is a hitter’s league which lessens the impact of those numbers, and Jennings didn’t back them up with enough doubles and triples. If he were still a catching problem, that wouldn’t be a big deal. But Jennings seems to be destined as an infielder, and particularly when playing the corners, low power numbers can drag a prospect down.

Maybe as Jennings gets older and stronger, he can find some way to show he can handle catching again. Being one would strengthen his chances at making the majors and playing everyday. But, should that not happen (and it’s not likely), he still has some use with his versatility around the infield, and if he can keep his power improving and improve his reactions at third and second, there’s some value in him being a utility player.

This year, like with many of the 2005 California League champs, is a make-it-or-break-it year, as Jennings is going to AA. AA has long been the foil for hitting prospects, particularly borderline ones who had big years in San Jose. Jennings year wasn’t a banner year, so if he keeps his numbers close to what he put up in San Jose, it’ll be a very good sign. But if Jennings is going to have any chance at the bigs, he’s going to have to find a way to survive playing in the Eastern League.

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