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2018 MLB Draft: Greyson Jenista, OF-1B, Wichita State

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Lefty power bat looks for spot in the first round of the ‘18 draft

Continuing with our coverage of prospects for the 2018 MLB Draft, we cast our gaze back to the college ranks with a look at Wichita State University outfielder/first baseman Greyson Jenista.

Jenista went to high school in De Soto, Kansas, a smallish town of about 6,000 people on the western edge of the Kansas City Metro Area. He was known to scouts and was rated as the top high school hitter in the state by Perfect Game in 2015 but his college commitment was considered strong and he wasn’t drafted.

He’s been a mainstay in the Shockers lineup since his freshman year, hitting .326/.431/.471 as a freshman and .320/.413/.509 as a sophomore. He didn’t hit particularly well in the 2016 Cape Cod League, batting .229/.301/.321, but his 2017 summer was much better at .310/.391/.401 with three homers, 18 walks, and 25 strikeouts in 142 at-bats, earning circuit MVP honors.

Numbers aside, Jenista really impressed scouts with his tools last summer (more on that in a moment), putting him in contention for a first round slot in the ‘18 draft along with Shockers teammate Alec Bohm.

Through 38 games in 2018, Jenista is hitting .301/.446/.493 with seven homers, 35 walks, and 27 strikeouts in 136 at-bats. Bohm has had a better spring and has passed Jenista on draft charts, but Greyson should still go on day one.

Jenista is listed at 6-4, a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower born December 7th, 1996. Weight listings vary depending on the source but he’s anywhere between 220 and 240 (the Shockers list him at 220).

You may think from his general appearance, size and weight that he’s a hulking slugger but that’s not true at all: he’s a good athlete actually. He has at least 60 raw power (some observers give him a 70) and a 60 arm but is also a 55 runner. He’s versatile defensively, having played center field, right field, and first base in college. Right field is probably the best bet in pro ball, especially if he loses a step with age.

At his best Jenista has reasonable feel for the strike zone and draws a solid number of walks; the Shockers have used him as a leadoff hitter occasionally to take advantage of his OBP. That said, he will show trouble with pitch recognition at times; Burke Granger at 2080 Baseball noted this in early April and it accords with my own observations of Jenista over the last two years.

He can be prone to strikeouts when he presses at the plate too much and it remains to be seen how his batting average and OBP ability will play at higher levels. On the other hand, makeup is a plus and consistent hustle on the field is one of his key attributes.

Although Jenista hasn’t matched Alec Bohm’s explosive breakout this spring, he’s performed well enough to maintain his stock as a likely first rounder. His combination of left-handed power and overall athleticism remains quite attractive, and teams will remember how well he hit with wood last summer.

2080baseball video:

Fangraphs video: