Other teams are trading for Jason Heyward or signing Russell Martin or giving Giancarlo Stanton all of the years for all of the dollars. So far, the new Dodgers braintrust has merely added backup infielder Ryan Jackson, and, tonight, this:
#dodgers acquire minor league 1B/OF Kyle Jensen from Marlins
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) November 18, 2014
When will they start making real moves, is a thing that some fans are actually saying, and which I’m repeating here as a joke because… good lord. Breathe, people.
Anyway, who, or what, is Kyle Jensen? Note first that before we get into this at all, he was acquired for cash or a player to be named, so his value is nothing, almost literally. A 26-year-old native of Walnut Creek, Ca., the 6’3″ outfielder was a 12th round pick of the Marlins in 2009 and slowly moved up the ladder, reaching Triple-A in 2013 and spending all season there in 2014.
There’s one thing that pops out at you immediately about Jensen, and that’s his power. He’s hit at least 24 homers in each of the last four seasons, and lots of them look like this:
The problem is that the power comes with just so many strikeouts — 26.3% in his minor league career, to be exact — and without a whole ton of positive reports about his defense. It’s why this comment from BP2013...
Come for the power, stay for the—well, that’s the problem; Kyle Jensen’s plate approach is unrefined, and he has no defensive position, so the Quad-A label will be tough to shed even after an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League.
…seems so right. Jensen was added to the 40-man roster after 2013, so he’ll be player number 37 on the Dodgers 40-man roster. So what’s the point? Well, Oklahoma City needs players too, I suppose. Just look at the organizational depth chart, won’t you? It’s sparse in Triple-A, and while some of the Double-A players will move up, you still have to field three guys in the outfield at a time. The cost here was just about zero, and maybe there’s some small, infinitesimal chance that the team thinks they see something that can make him the next Scott Van Slyke. More likely, he’s the next Kyle Russell. Remember him? Big raw power, bigger strikeout numbers, now out of professional ball entirely.