When the Yankees drafted Spencer Jones with the 25th pick in the first round in the 2022 MLB Draft, following the pick, they stated that they got exactly who they wanted.
Jones, a 6’7 outfielder that has already been dubbed a “lefty Judge,” is sure to turn heads even more with a full year’s worth of playtime this season. Though Jones may be a few years away from cracking the MLB roster, it’s going to be quite the ride to see him progress and improve during that stretch.
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Spencer Jones stole the show in the draft, and it translated to professional ball:
Jones is a demigod prospect, and there may not be any other way to put it other than that. The behemoth ran the third-best 30-yard dash in 3.6 seconds at the MLB combine, posted a 1.103 OPS his junior year at Vanderbilt, and then continued that success in A-ball in the limited showing he put together with the Tampa Tarpons, slashing .325/.411/.494 all while playing great defense in center field.
In just 22 games, he hit 3 HR and swiped 10 bags whilst posting a very commendable 10.5% BB %, to go with just an 18.9% K rate. His profile seems to be more well-rounded than his comparison, Judge’s, was during his days in the minors. Jones may not just be a slugger at the major league level but could be an overall great hitter. Assuming Jones is to hit, say, .270 in the MLB, with his power and speed, that could translate to a superstar player.
The outfield trio, down the line of Jasson Dominguez, Spencer Jones, and Aaron Judge (The Triple J) could be stuff of legend. Jones is elite with his hands and swing plane, as he’s able to crank inside pitches while also covering the outside of the plate exceptionally well. Though he wasn’t able to get anything rolling during the first few years at Vandy, that was all pushed aside last year when he absolutely turned on the jets with the Commodores.
Jones’s build and approach bode well for his pathway to the Yankees:
He posted a 160 wRC+ with Tampa, and if he is to get the call up to Hudson Valley at some point this year, his make-up should translate seamlessly at each level he advances to.
Recently, Baseball Prospectus even ranked him as the third-best Yankee prospect, ahead of Dominguez, and the 57th-best prospect in baseball overall. His skill set is beginning to turn heads, and publications are giving him a shout, despite being so fresh on the professional scene. The Jones hype train has just left the station, and this season we could see it barge full steam ahead, blowing past stop signs and checkpoints all the same.
Jones, also being a lefty, bodes extremely well for his pathway to the MLB, as if he remains in pinstripes until he gets called up, he will undoubtedly take advantage of the short porch in right field. The Yanks prioritize lefties that have resounding pull rates — take Rizzo’s 48.1% pull rate and Matt Carpenter’s 60.0% last season.
If Jones is able to continue to pull the baseball and improve his flyball rate, he could easily soar through the ranks in the system. In his brief time in A-ball, he posted just a 26.2% FB% but paired that with a 26.2% LD% (Line Drive). If he ups that to approximately 35-40%, which is a sweet spot, he could easily club 20-30+ HR across a full season.
Spencer Jones’s ability to absolutely obliterate the baseball — as seen by his Max Exit Velocity of 111.3 MPH in the minors last year and record-holding 119.1 MPH hit at Vandy — should see him fly through the farm system. He simply sees the baseball incredibly well, is able to make adjustments at the plate, and uses his raw power and strength to his advantage.
Jones should build off of a hype-ridden offseason and looks to burst out of the gates like a horse at the Kentucky Derby. This year should be a fun one to watch across all levels of the Yanks’ organization, and Jones is one of the guys to keep a tab on.