'Freak of nature.' Jeffers makes bold prediction about top draft pick

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Ryan Jeffers hired a trainer four years ago in Wilmington, N.C. — where he played in college — to help keep him strong and sharp during the offseason. The trainer has several clients and different approaches for each level of athlete, including a group of high school players still developing their baseball skills.

But 15 months ago, the trainer asked Jeffers if he'd mind adding another athlete to his personal workout.

"He said it was definitely time to get this kid out of his high school group, to move him up," Jeffers said. "So that's how I met Walker Jenkins."

Yep, the same 18-year-old baseball prodigy whom the Twins made the fifth overall pick in last July's amateur draft, the outfielder whom Baseball America already rates as the Twins' top prospect. The same Walker Jenkins that Jeffers now figures will be his teammate in two or three years.

"I don't imagine it'll take him forever to get up here," Jeffers said.

Jeffers has worked out with Jenkins, who grew up about five miles from Wilmington, for two winters now, and he sounds just as impressed as the baseball scouts who have watched him.

"He's a freak of nature. A lot to be excited about," Jeffers said. "Physically, he's way beyond his age. He's huge and [has an] almost a perfect swing."

But even better, the Twins catcher said, is Jenkins' maturity.

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"He's still a teenager, but he carries himself so well. He's a really good kid," Jeffers said. "Very respectful, well rounded."

And as an avid hunter and outdoorsman, Jeffers said, Jenkins is a great fit for Minnesota.

"We knew he would get drafted pretty high, and I thought maybe there was a chance the Twins would have a chance to draft him," Jeffers said. "So when it came to fruition, it was really cool. It's been fun. I'm excited for him."