Spencer Jones is already beginning to make a name for himself with the Yankees, and the baseball world is taking notice. Though FanGraphs’ prospect rankings for the Yankees haven’t been released yet, Baseball Prospectus’ have, and in a rather surprising move, they’ve ranked Jones higher than Jasson Dominguez (No. 3 in the organization, No. 4 in the organization).
It may seem like a bit of a reach considering Jones has barely even played a season’s worth of pro baseball for the club, but it certainly isn’t dumbfounding.
Our own Ryan Garcia did a fantastic deep dive into what makes Jones such a force on the baseball field, and perhaps Baseball Prospectus read that piece prior to making their list. Jones is 6’7 and was the Yanks’ first-round pick in the 2022 draft, and the sturdy slugger out of Vanderbilt has certainly impressed with the limited time he’s had to showcase his skills.
Jones had a breakout 2022 season with the Commodores and hit .370 with 21 triples and 12 homers and was also named the Corvallis Regional Most Outstanding Player. He was known for having some of the top exit velocities in the draft class, and we know the Yanks like their guys that hit the ball hard.
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Spencer Jones’s Judge build could bode well for an elite outfield down the road:
Jones’ stature and ability to absolutely torch the baseball led everyone to immediately make the comparisons to both Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Though, he could have an even better approach at the plate, especially for those who are sick of the swing and misses that the Yankees put up with. Despite his insane power and exit velocities, he doesn’t strike out at an unreasonable clip. In his first taste of pro ball with the Yanks, he only struck out 18.9% of his PAs. His discipline and eye passed the test, and the 2023 season will allow for him to finally get all the way in the water, averse to just dipping his feet in.
Jones being ranked this highly already should be seen as a very positive sign for the organization and should certainly reassure them that they got a fantastic steal in the draft at pick 25.
We’ve seen countless players become superstars that weren’t taken with any of the top few picks, and Jones could be on that path. He impressed in both the Complex League and in Single-A, showing off that power as he slugged .538 with a 173 wRC+ and 4 HRs in his first 106 Plate Appearances. Albeit a small sample size, the future looks very bright for the former Vandy beast. The Yankees have to be feeling good about being able to snag him as late in the round as they did, and many believe that that was who they wanted before the draft even kicked off.
Dominguez being behind him isn’t a bad thing for the Yankees:
When I first saw the Baseball Prospectus List for the Yanks’ organizational prospect rankings, I was as shocked as anyone. I am a firm believer that Jasson Dominguez is the franchise’s best prospect with the highest ceiling and best assortment of tools.
However, it’s not a bad thing for the farm system to be getting deeper and accumulating more talent. Jones may not be deserving of his rank ahead of Jasson, especially considering how little time he’s played, but it is a great step for the youngster. Dominguez continues to fly through the rankings, and he is still only 19-years-old. The future for him is still just as bright as it was when the organization signed him at just 16, and with more talent surrounding him as he progresses through the ranks, he should only get better.
A potential outfield combination down the line of Judge, Jones and Jasson could be one of the best outfields in baseball. Spencer Jones‘ ability to smash the baseball on the screws — as seen by his Max Exit Velocity of 111.3 MPH in the minors last year and record-standing 119.1 MPH hit at Vandy — should see him fly through the farm system. He’s young, just 21 years old, and has that collegiate experience at the most renowned baseball school in the country. Jones will be a problem as he continues to rise through the ranks, and it’s clear that baseball has been put on notice.
Spencer Jones could easily finish this season at AA Somerset, and I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if the organization gives him a quicker ascension to AAA Scranton than many expect. The Yanks have been stingy with how rapidly they promote their prospects, but for talent this good, they do have a tendency to make an exception. Jasson Dominguez was brought up to AA Somerset last year at the end of the season, and Volpe was moved to Scranton for the final few weeks. Perhaps Jones is on a slightly different track, given his college ball days, and is a name to keep an eye on for the years to come.