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Desmond Jennings no sure thing to replace Carl Crawford

Dec 27, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT

Desmond Jennings profile

For the past year or so most people have assumed that the Rays would replace Carl Crawford in left field with top prospect Desmond Jennings, a 23-year-old speedster who’s drawn frequent comparisons to Crawford while coming up through the minors.

However, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times “the most likely scenario” for the Rays’ outfield on Opening Day is B.J. Upton in center field flanked by Matt Joyce in left field and Ben Zobrist in right field.

Nothing is set in stone yet, of course. Topkin writes that Jennings “will get a long spring chance to show if he’s ready” and if the Rays feel they need Zobrist more as an infielder the path would be pretty clear for Jennings to make the Opening Day roster.

Jennings got his first taste of the majors in September, going 4-for-21 (.190), but prior to that he had a relatively underwhelming season at Triple-A by hitting .278 with a .362 on-base percentage and .393 slugging percentage in 109 games. He did swipe 37 bases while being caught just four times and posted a solid 67/47 K/BB ratio at Durham.

  1. jasoncollette - Dec 27, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Any thought of Jennings not making the opening day roster would be service-time based. Maddon made it clear that the “age of entitlement” is no longer in play with the Rays so everyone has to earn their role on the team. If Jennings blows up in March and doesn’t make the team, it’s all about service clock. Skills-wise, he proved his worth in the minors and defensively. He looked overmatched in his call-up last season so it’s up to him to show the club what he can do in March.

    If the roster stays as it is, I don’t see how he is not in left field as Zobrist might have to go to 1st by default.

  2. Brian - Dec 27, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    jeez Craig, that’s just an awful photograph. it hurts my eyes to look at it.

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