It was easy to see the bodily similarities between Yankees superstar Aaron Judge and their 2022 first-round draft pick Spencer Jones. Both stand 6-7. Both menace the pitcher. Both were coming off somewhat-inconsistent college careers, with impressive hard-hit profiles mixed with plenty of swing-and-miss thanks to their unique frames.
Now that Jones’ professional career has begun at both the lowest levels and Low-A Tampa, the Judge comparisons are even easier to understand. Because, in a small sample size, Jones has hit everything hard, and the results have come quickly.
Despite being a theoretically-advanced college bat, Jones is more of a work in progress than most draftees his age. Jones’ tools (like Judge’s) are off the charts, but most organizations would struggle through raw profiles such as his.
Not the Yankees, though. They’ve been there, done that, and eliminated the toe tap once already, and were clearly able to hit the ground running with their second chance this season.
Who knows whether the Yanks were already able to make a few tweaks to Jones’ game. Perhaps this is just the kind of early, unprovoked hot streak that hitters with monstrous exit velocity are prone to.
Either way, Jones hit the ground running after being challenged with a Low-A promotion, and the move is paying dividends — and providing us amazing shots like this one.
Yankees first-round draft pick Spencer Jones hits hot streak at Tampa
So far, so good for Jones, who hit .500 with a double and a dinger in a three-game stint in the Florida Complex League (the Yankees were your FCL Champions, by the way) before being promoted to Low-A. There, he’s hit a remarkable .340 with an .898 OPS and two more homers in 14 games.
The strangest part? The Rays, who drafted Jones’ Vanderbilt teammate Dom Keegan, a theoretically more pro-ready player, locked him in the FCL all season long until Sunday’s championship game. The Yankees, instead, took a chance and promoted Jones to get his feet wet, and it’s paid off so far as a showcase for his raw skill.
It’s tough to question the Rays’ player development methods, but it’s interesting to see the Yankees take a chance with a raw talent that Tampa was unwilling to take with a more advanced hitter.
Expect Jones to begin next season with Low-A Tampa once again after his quick end-of-season cameo in 2022, much like Jasson Dominguez did last year.
No one’s saying Jones is quite as toolsy as The Martian, but that extra time helped Dominguez level up this summer in Hudson Valley. Maybe it’ll do the same for the newest Bomber.