BRIDGEWATER – Spencer Jones is here.
More importantly, however, he’s ready to be here.
The 22-year-old outfielder was finally called up to Double-A Somerset on Aug. 27 after nearly a full year with the High-A Hudson Valley Renegades, where expectations were high after he was taken with the No. 25 overall pick by the Yankees in the 2022 MLB Draft.
A unique set of tools for someone of his size – he’s listed at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds – was always on display at Hudson Valley, with easy plus power and impressive speed serving as the standouts.
It was some of his peripheral numbers that were holding him back; through the end of June, he had just an 8.3 percent walk rate compared to a 32.2 percent strikeout rate. In the second half of the season, he was able to turn things around, upping that walk rate to 12.5 percent, while cutting down the strikeout rate to just 22.9 percent from July 1-Aug. 5.
“Just intention and approach,” Jones said, when asked by reporters during his first media availability at TD Bank Ballpark since his promotion on how he managed to do it.
“For those things, you’ve got to be locked in on every pitch, and I’ve done a much better job of that as of late.”
Jones, who Hudson Valley manager Sergio Santos compared to former American League MVP Josh Hamilton, said he was focused on staying consistent during the second half of the season to ensure a call-up would eventually come, one he said he wasn’t getting too anxious about, even after it was first Grant Richardson and not him who got the promotion after Jasson Dominguez was promoted to Triple-A Scranton.
As for Dominguez, he’s already up in the Bronx as part of the Yankees late-season youth movement that’s included Oswald Peraza, Austin Wells and Everson Pereira. “The Martian” would seem to have an outfield spot locked down long term, and Pereira would likely be given every chance to do the same, but Jones said he hasn’t really thought much about how it’ll all play out when it’s eventually his turn to make the jump up there himself.
Not only that, he said it’s also not difficult to take that approach thanks to some of the veteran leadership in the Patriots clubhouse.
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“It’s something I feel like I’ve learned being around these guys, because these guys know how to approach it the right way,” said Jones, who is hitting .156 with a home run and five RBI in his first eight Double-A games.
“They’ve been here, they’ve played a lot of games, and they’re experienced. It’s easy to see and to learn from great leaders like they have on this team; so far, I (roomed) with Mickey Gasper in Portland, and he’s a great guy. Mickey, Trey (Sweeney), Max Burt, (Eduardo) Torrealba, those are all really well-spoken, consistent, prepared athletes. And they go out there, and they want to compete, and they want to win.”
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Yankees prospect Spencer Jones finishing 2023 season at Double-A
Source: Yahoo Sports