A 70-grade athlete who entered the spring of his junior year at Vanderbilt with top-five buzz, Kendall slid to 23rd overall because of questions about his ability to make contact. He is more raw than many first-round college hitters, as he went to high school in the cold weather state of Wisconsin, playing numerous sports.
In my three-game look, the hit tool issues were obvious. Kendall is already tinkering with his swing, hitting from a wider base than I saw in my March backfield looks. His setup may have changed, but there hasn’t been an adjustment to his extra-low handset that starts the swing with a hitch; the bat starts slightly wrapped, causing a sweepy path that isn’t conducive to barrel control. He uses a slight leg-lift trigger before starting his hands, but he’s often late getting his front foot down. Kendall has trouble with off-speed stuff, especially, as a tendency to “drift” too far forward before his swing makes it tough to keep his head quiet seeing the pitch. There were times he would leak his front hip open as well, exposing holes on the outer third of the plate.
All this said, Kendall is only in his first full season of pro ball and has time to make changes. His explosive athleticism and speed impact the game in multiple ways, and he’s a fairly safe bet to contribute defensively and on the bases. He projects as a plus center fielder with good wheels and, at minimum, average raw power, though his ability to bring that into games isn’t guaranteed. In order to be an everyday player, he’ll need to make a lot more contact while adjusting numerous aspects of his swing and approach. Until then, he’s looking like an athletic fourth outfielder who flashes upside, but who may struggle to find consistency.