Yankees’ 2022 first-round pick leads MiLB in this impressive metric

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

Baseball America released its top-100 list this past week, with the Yankees having six different prospects on the list. One of the names that you expect to see on any list heading into 2024 is outfielder Spencer Jones, who stands at a towering 6’7 and has some of the best physical tools in affiliated baseball. The left-handed hitting outfielder made it up to Double-A in his first full season with the organization, and while the offensive production wasn’t gaudy, he still impressed with some of those aforementioned tools on the baseball diamond.

One of those tools is his power tool, and Baseball America revealed this morning that the slugger was tied with fellow Yankee Everson Pereira with the highest Exit Velocity on the top-100 list (93.8).

Positive Reports Keep Pouring in For the Yankees’ Farm System

spencer jones, yankees
Vanderbilt right fielder Spencer Jones (34) hits a single against Texas A&M during the eighth inning at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 28, 2022. Vandy Tam Base 042822 An 010

No team had more prospects on Baseball America’s top-100 list than the Yankees (6), with three other organizations tied with New York for the most in baseball. Spencer Jones was ranked as their #46 prospect, and the left-handed toolshed has everything you’re looking for in a potential star. Ronald Acuna Jr. (94.7) and Shohei Ohtani (94.4) were the only qualified hitters with better average EV numbers, and Jones is working on aspects of his game that could allow him to generate more game power.

The 22-year-old didn’t crack the 20 HR threshold this past season due to high groundball rates, and generating more loft in his swing while attacking the ball out in front will be a huge point of emphasis for him. It seems that strikeouts will always be part of his game, but if he can keep them manageable while doing damage in the air, he’ll quickly soar through Double-A and Triple-A.

Another aspect of Spencer Jones’ game is his stellar defense, posting +6.0 Defensive Runs Prevented last season in centerfield. His excellent speed and cannon for an arm pair nicely, and the Yankees could use have their hands on a two-way threat that can hit a home run to give the team the lead in one inning and make a play that saves a run later on in the game. He wasn’t the only hitter to display elite raw power tools, as four of the five hitters the Yankees had on the top-100 list had an EV above 90 MPH.

mlb: detroit tigers at new york yankees, everson pereira
Sep 7, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Everson Pereira (80) hits an RBI double against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Everson Pereira tied Spencer Jones at 93.8 MPH and was impressive at both Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 139 wRC+ and clubbing 18 home runs in just 81 games, but he struggled in his brief MLB stint. There are legitimate concerns about his lack of a hit tool, although the Yankees have dealt with hitters who had elite power tools but poor hit tools in the past, most notably Aaron Judge.

There are not many professional hitters who can do as much damage on impact as Everson Pereira can, but it’s unclear whether the Yankees would have a role for him with their outfield depth right now. As for Jasson Dominguez, he posted an impressive 91.4 MPH Average Exit Velocity, and he’s coupled an impressive ability to do damage on contact with a hit tool that blossomed in the second half. He was their top-ranked prospect (#16) and looks to be one of the key pieces of this team for the future.

Austin Wells, who is expected to split catching duties with Jose Trevino, averaged 90 MPH, and he does an excellent job of putting the ball in the air to right field. His ability to generate solid exit velocities consistently while also having a lot of loft in his swing should position him to perform extremely well at the MLB level given how favorable the short porch in right field is for left-handed hitters who pull the ball in the air.

Roderick Arias was the only hitter among Yankee representatives on the top 100 to post a sub-90 EV (87.4) but given the fact that he was in his age-18 season, he’ll have plenty of time to continue developing his raw power. If the Yankees are going to win sustainably, they’ll need to develop talent internally, and they’ve got some heavy hitters in the organization who could become impact players down the road.