Yankees’ star prospect could make a great first impression at Spring Training

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

There’s a reason that New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has refused to include star prospect Spencer Jones in prospective trade negotiations. Most recently, the Yankees declined to include Jones in a deal that would’ve brought Corbin Burnes from Milwaukee to the Bronx, solidifying their starting rotation for the 2024 season.

The Value of Spencer Jones to the Yankees

However, the Yankees see generational power in Jones, tremendous defensive upside, and unmatched athleticism for a player of his size, so cashing those qualities in for one year of Burnes isn’t their preference.

Jones struggled to a degree last season with High-A Hudson Valley and Double-A Somerset, only hitting 16 homers over 117 games and failing to record an on-base percentage above 34%. He hit a high of .268 with Hudson Valley, where he played 100 games and hit 13 homers with 56 RBIs.

However, Jones stole 43 bases, showcasing what he can do as a runner at 6’6″. Moving ahead, he will have an opportunity as a non-roster invite to compete during spring training and showcase his potential. Making quality contact more frequently and elevating his launch angle should provide more home runs and more production.

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Development Focus

In fact, Yankees hitting coordinator Joe Migliaccio spoke to NJ.com this week, stating where the Yankees have been trying to help Jones improve.

“We’re trying to get him to be in a spot where he’s making good decisions in the zone and taking advantage of his strengths,” Migliaccio said. “He knows the areas that he can really do damage. Sometimes it’s simple things like ‘OK, I’m gonna let this pitcher have this part of the zone. I know he’s gonna make a mistake at some point in this at-bat — whether it’s with his fastball or non-fastball — and when he does make that mistake, I’m gonna take advantage of it.’ We just need to make sure that when he is making his decision, it’s not a defensive decision. It’s a decision to make an impact.”

The Bombers have had Jones watching a tape of Kevin Kiermaier in center field, so there’s certainly reason to believe that he could be their future at the position, even though the Yankees are excited about Jasson Dominguez and his upside.

Path to the Majors

Starting the 2024 season with Somerset, Jones has a one-way ticket punched to Triple-A if he starts the year hot, which would put him just one step below the majors. If the Yankees need any outfield supplements in the near term, Jones could get the first crack, especially if Dominguez isn’t ready to make the return from rehab — he’s expected to return over the summer, with the earliest timetable being in July.