With the New York Yankees sitting in last place, much of the attention has been focused on an inconsistent offense and the mounting number of injuries. There is, however, reason for optimism in the Yankees minor league system. This time it is for a player aside from superstar prospect Jasson Dominguez.
Spencer Jones is drawing more attention and increasingly becoming a name to watch.
New York selected Jones with its first-round pick in last June’s draft out of Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-7 outfielder was a force offensively in college, and he’s continued to hit as a professional. Through his first 45 games and 200 plate appearances, he has a .318/.380/.575 line with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 19 stolen bases.
The concern is the strikeouts. Jones has 51 of them, roughly 25% of his plate appearances. If he can cut down on the swing-and-miss rate then the offensive results will continue to be there.
Jones – and his strikeout tendencies – were highlighted recently in a mailbag response by MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo when asked if the nearly 22-year-old could be viewed as a “breakout star” in the Yankees system:
“He had a two-homer game to end his week last week and has a .940 OPS through 18 games with Class A Advanced Hudson Valley. The swing-and-miss is still a concern, and his 35.3 percent strikeout rate is not a way to have sustainable success. But there’s no doubt he’s getting to his power. If he can refine his approach — he was better on that front last summer after signing — then there’s a good chance it’s going to work. But he’s definitely caught our attention and has come up in conversations about potential Top 100 replacements in this opening month.”
MLB.com ranked Jones as New York’s fourth-best prospect entering the season behind Anthony Volpe, Dominguez and Austin Wells.
Despite the ongoing concerns in the New York outfield, Jones is still a ways away from helping out. A promotion to Double-A Trenton this summer shouldn’t be considered out of the question if he can continue to produce at Hudson Valley, but he may not make his way to the big club anytime soon. Regardless, he’s gaining attention across the baseball world, and for good reason.