Carter Jensen is one of the top prep hitters in the 2021 MLB draft class. He displayed his advanced approach on the showcase circuit this summer.
Jensen, a Kansas City, Missouri native, excelled against premium velocity and consistently hunted for his pitch this summer. He credits his approach and ability to square up quality pitches to his experience hitting against professional pitchers.
In the offseason, Jensen worked out at Premier Baseball Kansas City, where he hit against pro pitchers, including St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Dakota Hudson. The ability to learn and receive advice from quality pro pitchers on hitting and catching has aided Jensen’s development, he said.
“I pick his brain a little bit with everything he knows with being in the big leagues,” Jensen said. “I learn that it’s a lot different than facing those high school arms because these pro guys are a lot more developed and have been working on it for a longer time. I pick their brains on everything. I ask them how the draft process works, how the minor leagues are, and all that kind of stuff. I try to figure out as much as I can through them.”
The information he received from the pro pitchers he’s worked with will be beneficial this year. Jensen is one of the top prep players in the 2021 draft class and likely will be an early-round selection in July.
His success on the showcase circuit this summer has increased the pro attention and caused his name to surge up draft boards.
“It’s awesome. I love it,” said Jensen on the draft attention. “It’s just becoming a dream come true. I can remember when I was a kid, and that was always what I wanted to do. I told myself that I would work as hard as I can to try to get drafted because that was my goal. To see that I am doing some things right to get that pro attention is super exciting. My parents and I are super excited about the process that is coming up.”
Jensen, a left-handed hitter, is an offensive-minded catcher who is 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. He exhibits a mature approach, consistently appearing in control during his at-bats, and has a quick and compact swing. He also hits the ball with authority and uses all parts of the field.
He displays power potential and should grow more into that tool as he matures.
“I think my hit tool is one of the best in the class if I can say so myself,” Jensen said. “I think that I have the approach of a big leaguer. I know I can take pitches that are good but maybe out of the strike zone. I can be really aggressive when I have to be. I jump on fastballs, and I can lay off the off-speed pitches. I can do all of that, and not to mention, my catching got way better from last year to this year.
“I think that I am one of those catchers that can hit and also throw people out on the bases. Pitchers can also be very comfortable with me behind the plate because they know I will do everything I can to block everything and help them out as best I can.”
Jensen has shown growth defensively this summer. He has above-average arm strength and is accurate with his throws. He is athletic and offers burst behind the plate, making it difficult for runners to steal bases at a high percentage against him.
Jensen has the attributes and potential to remain behind the plate long-term.
“I fell in love with catcher when I started playing the position my freshman year,” Jensen said. “I just fell in love with the position. I’ve dedicated myself to improving at that position the most I can because that’s the position I want to stick at long-term.”
Besides having the chance to start a pro career after his senior season at Park Hill High School in July, Jensen also is a Louisiana State University commit. He committed to LSU over multiple schools, including Texas Tech, Houston, and Clemson, in the summer leading up to his junior year in June 2019.
Jensen initially verbally committed to Missouri as a freshman but soon realized that it wasn’t the best fit for him. LSU’s pedigree as one of the top college baseball programs and its proven history developing talent for pro ball stood out to Jensen.
Iowa prep catcher Ian Moller also is an LSU commit in the 2021 class. Moller is a highly-regarded prospect and a potential first-round pick in July’s draft. Moller and Jensen are friends, and Jensen isn’t worried about playing time if he and Moller end up at LSU next year, he said.
“I watched them play in the College World Series when I was a kid, and my aunt and uncle live down in New Orleans, which isn’t far from Baton Rouge,” Jensen said. “I kind of grew up loving LSU, and I always wanted to go there.”
Read more in-depth stories on top 2021 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.