Who is Spencer Jones, the Yankees draft pick with Aaron Judge-like qualities?

Yankees prospect Spencer Jones in 2022

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Spencer Jones is making a name for himself with the Yankees, and the rest of baseball is starting to pay attention. Many people are comparing the 21-year-old to Aaron Judge, even though he hasn’t even played a full season of professional baseball for the team.

With the 25th pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, the Yankees chose the 6-foot-7, power-hitting outfielder. Spencer Jones had a big year with the Commodores in 2022 and was named the Corvallis Regional Most Outstanding Player. Spencer Jones was known to have some of the fastest exit speeds in his draft class, and we know that the Yankees like players who hit the ball hard.

Spencer Jones did well in both the Complex League and Single-A, where he hit .538 with a 173 wRC+ and 4 HRs in his first 106 plate appearances to show off his power. He hit .325 with three home runs in single-A even though he had just graduated from college.

Spencer Jones’ size and his ability to hit the ball like a rocket made everyone immediately think of Aaron Judge. Though, he could have an even better approach at the plate, especially for Yankees fans who are tired of seeing players swing and miss. Even though his power and exit speeds are crazy, Spencer Jones doesn’t strike out at a crazy rate. When he played for the Yankees for the first time, Jones only struck out 18.9% of the time. His discipline and eye passed the test, so in 2023, he will be able to go all the way into the water instead of just dipping his toes in.

“I’m really excited to eventually meet [Judge] at some point,” Spencer Jones said. “I’ve heard really great things about his personality, and as a teammate and as a great leader. I’m excited to get to know him and learn from him as much as I possibly can.”

Spencer Jones is as tall as Judge, and both are unique athletes and prospects for the Yankees, so their names are linked. As an athlete, it is not a matter of opinion to say that Jones is unique. Before the draft, Loden Sports, a company that has tested more than 13,000 athletes to find out how they perform, found that Spencer Jones was in the top 1% of all the athletes they’ve tested. In particular, they found that he was the best at power and speed.

The 230-pound outfielder has a unique mix of speed and power. One scouting service called Spencer Jones an “outlier athlete.” The 21-year-old attracted attention at Vanderbilt when he hit .370/.460/.643. He played just 61 games but had 60 RBIs and recorded 12 home runs. This was his first healthy season after elbow injuries slowed down his career and ended his pitching career. The Yankees scouts immediately took note of his exit velocity and signed. He averaged 103.6 mph on his 10 swings and hit the hardest ball of the day at 112.2 mph.

According to his coach Maggie Corbin:

“Early in the season you could see some power, but it was mostly the other way. He was still trying to feel his barrel head out in front. As the season progressed, he really started to get up on it. I think people have questioned if he could really get after the fastball, but you saw him more and more catching up with good fastballs. He’s really feeling the barrel now. He’s becoming the player we thought he would, the bat speed, I mean he hits some opposite-field ground balls that infielders don’t even think about getting in front of. Exit speeds of 115, just incredible strength for his size. The guy runs around the field with his shirt off and you just know he’s a different cat.”

“Center field is definitely the goal,” Spencer Jones said. “I want to get to the point, and I’m just at the beginning of the journey. I’m excited to get to work and show people what I can do.”

Spencer Jones in 2023

Spencer Jones’s 2023 season within the minor league system of the New York Yankees marked a significant phase in his budding baseball career. Assigned to the Hudson Valley Renegades in the High-A South Atlantic League at the season’s outset, Jones’s performance swiftly elevated him to a prominent prospect status. His selection alongside Clayton Beeter for the 2023 All-Star Futures Game underscored his rising organizational profile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A1hHqvoWvk .

Jones’s mid-season promotion to the Somerset Patriots of the Double-A Eastern League further highlighted his progress. Throughout the year, over 117 games, he compiled a commendable stat line, slashing .267/.336/.444, with a notable production of 12 home runs, 66 RBIs, and 29 doubles. His 43 stolen bases illustrated his speed and base-running acumen, setting him apart as a well-rounded player.

However, Jones faced challenges with strikeouts, recording 155 in 117 games, indicating areas for growth in contact hitting and pitch selection. Despite this, his 9.1% walk rate over 537 plate appearances demonstrated a solid eye and discipline at the plate, suggesting potential for further development in plate discipline and strike zone control.

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Defensively, Jones showcased the ability to play center field, leveraging his above-average athleticism and speed. This capability is particularly noteworthy given his height, making him a rare talent in center-field positions typically not filled by players of his stature.

Jones’s future in baseball is promising, with scouting grades reflecting his balanced skill set—highlighted by a hit grade of 50, power at 60, speed at 55, fielding at 50, and eye at 55. His power-hitting potential, with projections suggesting the ability to hit 25-30 home runs at the Major League level, combined with his above-average speed, positions him as a unique talent. While there is anticipation of a possible decrease in speed over time, which might necessitate a shift to a corner outfield position, Jones’s all-star potential remains clear.

Yankees debut in 2024?

The potential for Spencer Jones to make his Major League debut with the New York Yankees in the 2024 season is an intriguing prospect, yet it appears to be more of a long shot given his current trajectory and the team’s existing depth. While Jones’s performance in the minor leagues has certainly positioned him as a standout prospect within the Yankees organization, several factors suggest a 2025 debut might be more realistic.

Jones’s experience at the Double-A level, with just 17 games above High-A, indicates that while he has shown promise, he may require more time to fully develop and adjust to higher levels of professional baseball. This adjustment period is critical for ensuring that prospects like Jones are fully prepared for the rigors and challenges of Major League Baseball (MLB).

Comparatively, the Yankees have recently seen prospects such as Austin Wells and Jasson Dominguez make the leap from Double-A to the majors, suggesting that while the path is there for Jones, the timing must be right. Given Jones’s limited experience at the higher minor league levels, the Yankees may opt for a more cautious approach to his development, allowing him more time in the minors to hone his skills, particularly given his strikeout rates and ongoing adjustments to professional pitching. That said, the Yankees are more than bullish on the tall youngster. The New York Yankees’ decision to prioritize keeping Spencer Jones, even at the expense of acquiring Dylan Cease to strengthen their rotation, underscores the high value the organization places on Jones’s potential. This move signifies the Yankees’ confidence in Jones’s future contributions to the team and their long-term vision for him within the organization.

Furthermore, the Yankees’ projected outfield for 2024, featuring Aaron Judge, Alex Verdugo, and Juan Soto, presents a formidable lineup with little room for immediate additions. This depth is coupled with Jasson Dominguez, set to return in the summer, and Trent Grisham, a defensive star and utility favorite Oswaldo Cabrera. Given this, it is highly unlikely that the Yankees will rush Jones into the major league roster. The emphasis will likely be on ensuring that when Jones does make his debut, he is fully prepared to contribute at a high level.

In summary, while Spencer Jones possesses the talent and potential to impact the Yankees’ major league roster, a debut in the 2024 season seems less likely given his developmental needs and the team’s current outfield composition. A more probable scenario is Jones continuing to develop within the Yankees’ minor league system, with a potential debut in 2025, when he might be better positioned to secure a more permanent role on the team.

What do you think about the comparison? Leave a comment below.

Batting Stats

YearAgeTmLgLevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTBGDPHBPSHSFIBB
202019VanderbiltSECNCAA14423487400300470.2060.3330.3240.6571103010
202120VanderbiltSECNCAA3410795162650310407330.2740.3460.4210.7674004010
202120BrewsterCCBLSmr259277142440318628280.3120.4240.4810.904377000
202221VanderbiltSECNCAA612722306285213126014132640.370.460.6441.10314828024
2022212 Teams2 LgsA-RkNYY251069321326041212011200.3440.4250.5380.9625012000
202221TampaFLORANYY2295831827503810010180.3250.4110.4940.9054112000
202221YankeesFCLRkNYY3111035101420120.50.5460.91.446900000
2023222 Teams2 LgsA+-AANYY1175374807112829416664312491550.2670.3360.4440.7821363030
202322SomersetELAANYY17786991810310837220.2610.3330.4060.7392811010
202322Hudson ValleySALLA+NYY100459411621102841356359421330.2680.3370.450.78718552020
LevAffGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTBGDPHBPSHSFIBB
Minors (2 seasons)Minors1426435739216035420785512601750.2790.3510.4590.8126375030
College (3 seasons)College109421359861183031573181431040.3290.4180.5540.972199215044
Other (1 season)Other259277142440318628280.3120.4240.4810.904377000
All Levels (4 Seasons)276115610091923026973816979151113070.2990.3810.4950.876499927074

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