Yankees’ promising outfield prospect could become a ‘star slugger’

spencer jones, yankees
Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Spencer Jones during media day on April 5, 2023. Renegades Media Day

The New York Yankees have significantly revamped their outfield with the additions of Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grisham. These changes are expected to bring a notable boost to the Yankees’ offense in 2024, particularly with the inclusion of Soto’s Hall of Fame-level talent and Verdugo’s above-average production.

Future Considerations: Soto and Verdugo’s Final Arbitration Year

While the immediate focus is on the upcoming season, the Yankees are also mindful of the future. Both Soto and Verdugo are in their final year of arbitration, which could potentially lead to their departure in free agency next year. In light of this, the Yankees are developing a contingency plan, focusing on grooming their young prospects for future roles.

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Prospect Spotlight: Spencer Jones and Jasson Dominguez

Jasson Dominguez has already showcased his abilities at the major league level, but another prospect, Spencer Jones, is also drawing significant attention. At 22 years old and standing 6’6″, Jones possesses generational power and the attributes of a standout athlete. Despite some struggles in maintaining his batting average and on-base percentage, his potential is undeniable.

Jones’s ability to make impactful contact is a key area for development. His performance over 100 games at High-A Hudson Valley, where he batted .268/.337/.450 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs, demonstrates his capabilities. However, his transition to Double-A Somerset highlighted areas for improvement.

Notably, Jones’s speed and effectiveness on the base paths are qualities that have impressed analysts. His 43 stolen bases last season are particularly remarkable for a player of his stature.

According to ESPN’s Kylie McDaniel, fine-tuning certain aspects of Jones’s game could elevate him to star status.

“Jones is deceptively quick for his size as a solid-average runner who stole 43 bases in 2023, but the calling card here is his plus-plus raw power. He hit only 16 homers last season, which might be below expectations for some — but his exit velos were plus-plus (113 mph max), so he’s just not lifting the ball quite enough when he’s hitting it hard. If he can lift his hard-hit launch angle from 7 degrees to around 15 degrees without losing too much contact, then he’ll become a star slugger. That’s certainly doable, but not quite as easy as you may think.”

Jones vs. Dominguez: Yankees’ Top Prospect Debate

The debate over the Yankees’ top prospect position is intriguing, especially considering Dominguez’s impressive feats at the major league level, including a home run against Justin Verlander. However, Jones’s combination of power, speed, and athleticism makes him a compelling candidate for the title.

The difference is that Dominguez may have a chance to contribute to the Yankees’ 2024 season, while Jones needs a bit more development and is two years older. One way or another, both have the upside to be elite MLB players in the future.