Outfielder Jeren Kendall, who was a top-100 prospect shortly after being drafted by the Dodgers out of Vanderbilt in 2017, has retired from baseball, according to the transaction logs. Kendall, who will be 27 in February, spent five years in L.A.’s minor league system.
Kendall was taken with the 23rd pick in the draft in 2017, and the next month he debuted on MLB.com’s top-100 prospects list at number 86 after a torrid start in Rookie ball. Unfortunately for Kendall and the Dodgers, things never quite came together after that.
Kendall spent two seasons at High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2018-19 and then two seasons at Double-A Tulsa in 2021-22 (the minor-league season was canceled due to the pandemic). Overall in his five minor-league seasons, Kendall batted .209 with a .693 OPS before hanging it up.
While the Dodgers have mostly drafted and developed well under Andrew Friedman, the 2017 draft is looking like a major exception to that. Six players from that draft have made the big leagues, but they’ve combined for -0.9 WAR. With Kendall’s retirement, three of their top six picks in that draft are no longer in organized pro ball. Sixth-rounder Wills Montgomerie hasn’t pitched in the minors since 2019, and fifth-rounder Riley Ottesen was released by L.A. in 2020 and has spent 2021 and 2022 pitching in indy ball.
Kendall was teammates in college with Walker Buehler, Dansby Swanson, Bryan Reynolds, and several other big leaguers, but he won’t be following their footsteps to the big leagues.
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