Well it just seems like a perfect time to bring back the first ever series I did for Royals Farm Report last year! One of my favorite things about following Royals minor league baseball is trying to find the under-the-radar prospects in the organization that don’t get enough attention, but have the potential to explode. Last year the series covered:
This year, I expanded the list to six. There has been so much fun talent in the Kansas City Royals minor leagues that it only seemed fitting to add one more. Here is who I’ve covered so:
I might be the most excited to write about this player for Part 5. I have covered him a few times before, once in my get to know a royals prospect series and last year in my five ACL/DSL players to watch. Carter Jensen is about as exciting as it gets for a hitting prospect. Taken in the 3rd round (78th overall) of the 2021 MLB Draft, Jensen was considered one of the best hitting catchers in the draft. There were some questions about his potential to stick behind the plate regardless of his cannon of an arm, but he has quickly shut down a lot of those thoughts as he has been making significant improvements behind the plate.
Offensively, some of you might be diving into his numbers on minor league baseball and asking yourself, “what is exciting about a .227 batting average?”. There is so much more to Jensen’s game. Jensen has a .274 BABIP but is only striking out 21.2% of the time this year. On top of that, he is walking at an absurd 16.9%. That equates to 79 walks and 99 strikeouts in 109 games. That is some elite plate discipline we see from Jensen. When MJ Melendez was in Low-A at 19, he was striking out at a much higher clip (30.3%) and walking much less (9.1%). I am not saying that Jensen will be better than Melendez, but he is on the right trajectory to be just as good. His elite approach at the plate makes him stand out from the rest of the pack.
A good thing to remember is that he JUST turned 19 years old not too long ago and is already in Low-A. He’s about a year younger in Low-A than MJ Melendez was. There aren’t many his age playing in full-season pro ball. Along with his solid plate discipline, he’s been mashing extra-base hits left and right, showing off his raw power. He has 24 doubles and 11 home runs on the season thus far. His short and simple swing helps him stay quick to the ball and get a lot of consistent barrels. MLB Pipeline only has Jensen ranked as #14 on the Royals’ top 30, and you could argue that he should be much higher. Even though it isn’t shown in the batting average, you have to be excited about the development Jensen has made in his first year. He is doing things many other teenagers aren’t doing in rookie ball. He still has some progress to make with some of his aggressiveness at the plate and his receiving ability behind the plate. Still, with his work ethic and determination, there isn’t a ton of worry that he won’t be able to progress in either of these departments. Jensen is a guy all Royals fans should have on their radar.