Yankees send red-hot outfield prospect back to minor league camp

mlb: spring training-toronto blue jays at new york yankees, spencer jones
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Would you believe it if I told you Yankees’ star outfield prospect Spencer Jones didn’t whiff on a single pitch during spring training? Well, that is simply the facts, and the 22-year-old had a red-hot performance as he quelled any concerns over his decision-making in the batter’s box.

Coming off a polarizing 2023 season in the minors, Jones set out to improve his plate discipline and utilize his power a bit more strategically. He played 100 games in High-A Hudson Valley last year, hitting .268/.337/.450. He hit 13 homers with 56 RBIs and stole 35 bases, prompting the Yankees to promote him to Double-A Somerset.

Jones Secures His Spot in the Yankees’ Future Plans

Jones hit only .261/.333/.406 over 17 games with Somerset, taking a step in the wrong direction but certainly displaying enough to convince the Yankees to take him out of any trade talks this off-season.

Both the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres asked about availability, which the Yankees quickly shut down with hopes of his development this year.

READ MORE: Yankees’ Juan Soto brushes off contract extension talks

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Miami Marlins
Mar 4, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Spencer jones (78) hits a single against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Path Forward for Jones in the Outfield

Fortunately, his performance in spring training showed general manager Brian Cashman all he needed to see regarding his substantial upside. Over eight games, Jones hit .467/.556/.733, including one home run and four RBIs, with an 11.1% walk rate and 16.7% strikeout rate. Every strike thrown against him was looking, with several strikeouts the result of bad calls.

This is a great sign for Jones and the future of the outfield for the Bombers, who will have to make some tough decisions with Alex Verdugo and Juan Soto in the final year of arbitration. Free agency could be ugly next year if the Yankees let either/both leave, but Jones profiles to be the team’s future center fielder, even with Jasson Dominguez climbing his way back from injury.

Considering his athletic profile and range in the outfield, the Yankees are excited about his potential on both sides of the ball. On Tuesday, they sent him back to minor camp with spring training still winding down. The regular season starts on the 28th, and the team has a few more weeks to continue refining their batting order and getting as many at-bats as possible for some of their key hitters.

Nonetheless, the future looks up in the outfield, even if the Yanks end up losing Soto in free agency next off-season.

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