Howard Joseph Kendrick III
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 195 lb.
- School St. Johns River Community College
- High School West Nassau County High School
- Debut April 26, 2006
Howie Kendrick debuted in the majors in 2006 after several years as the top prospect of the Los Angeles Angels.
Kendrick was drafted in the 10th round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Angels, then the Anaheim Angels. He was signed by scout Tom Kotchman and debuted that year with the AZL Angels, batting .318/.368/.408. He was 9th in the Arizona League in batting average. Howie spent 2003 with the Provo Angels, batting a dazzling .368/.434/.517 with 20 doubles and 65 runs in 63 games. Baseball America named him the #13 prospect in the Pioneer League. Kendrick finished fourth in the league in average and led league second basemen in assists (183) and errors (17).
Howie won a batting title in 2004 despite missing two months with a groin injury and falling 41 plate appearances shy of the qualifiers; even if he had gone 0-for-41, he would have won the championship, so the rules granted it to him. Kendrick batted .367/.398/.578 with the Cedar Rapids Kernels and stole 15 bases in 21 tries, scoring 66 times in 75 games. He also played 3 games with the AZL Angels on a rehab stint. Brendan Ryan (.322) was the Midwest League runner-up in average. Kendrick made the MWL All-Star team at second base.
Kendrick continued to post impressive numbers in 2005 and improved on his .357 career average entering that year. He hit .384/.421/.638 for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and scored 69 runs in 63 games. Promoted to the Arkansas Travelers, Howie batted .342/.382/.579. Overall, he had scored 104 runs with 18 home runs, 17 times hit by pitch and 25 steals in 33 tries. Only Rick Short (.383) had a higher average in the US-based minors than Kendrick's .367. Baseball America rated him the best batting prospect in the Carolina League and the #3 overall prospect after Brandon Wood and Stephen Drew. Kendrick made the Cal League All-Star team; he would have led in average had he garnered enough plate appearances to qualify. Kendrick was also rated the #1 prospect in the Texas League by Baseball America.
Kendrick's career minor league average continued to improve, amazingly enough. He hit .369/.408/.631 in 69 games for the Salt Lake Bees with 25 doubles, 6 triples, 57 runs, 13 homers and 62 RBI there. Called up to the 2006 Angels and moved to first base, he hit .285/.314/.416 with good line-drive power but a disappointing 91 OPS+. He went 0 for 2 in the 2006 Futures Game but did score twice. Baseball America rated him the best batting prospect and most exciting player in the Pacific Coast League and #3 overall prospect in that loop behind Drew and Jered Weaver. He also won PCL Rookie of the Year honors.
- Anthony DiComo: "Kendrick's 'magical season' leads to NLCS MVP", mlb.com, October 16, 2019.