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Running Ray: Desmond Jennings sparkles in debut

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Saturday night's alright for hyping. Let's get a little action in.

Desmond Jennings was a wait-and-see guy for us 24 hours ago. We weren't sure where the Rays would slot him in the lineup, how much he would run right away, how he would take to the pro game in his second go-round.

Okay, we certainly don't have all the answers just one game into the Jennings experiment, but let's state the obvious: he looked terrific in his 2011 debut at Kansas City on Saturday night, and gamers have every reason to be excited here.

Jennings got the call in the leadoff spot and he opened the game with a triple to left-center (video proof; look at that beautiful stride). Two batters later, Jennings scored on a Ben Zobrist single. You can imagine what B.J. Upton (zero triples this year) must have said to Jennings in the dugout ("why you show the ballclub up, man — be cool, stop at second next time.")

Jennings followed up nicely with an RBI double (scorched down the line, video here), an intentional walk (and a stolen base) and a conventional walk. Four plate appearances, four times on base. He struck out in his fifth and final at-bat.

Let's stop and consider the extra information we've gleaned over the last day. We now know Joe Maddon plans to hit Jennings in the leadoff spot, and it's obvious they're going to let the kid run (he had 17 steals in 18 attempts at Triple-A Durham). And we always knew Jennings had outstanding on-base skills (note the 45 walks and .374 OBP at Durham) and decent pop.

If I were doing a fresh Shuffle Up for outfielders right this second, I'd have Jennings in the $15-16 dollar range. His Yahoo! ownership level has already spiked to 21 percent, but it needs to go a lot higher than that. Give your roster a look, see how you can make room.


Image courtesy Associated Press

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