MLB Pipeline's 'hottest Yankees hitting prospect' will get you excited

Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Spencer Jones during media day on April 5, 2023.

Renegades Media
Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Spencer Jones during media day on April 5, 2023. Renegades Media / Patrick Oehler/Poughkeepsie Journal /

The New York Yankees seem to have produced a good deal of minor-league offense in recent years, with spark plug Anthony Volpe currently emerging at the big-league level, Oswald Peraza showing flashes, and Jasson Dominguez captivating fans and scribes alike during this year's spring training scrimmages.

High-level pitching? Uh, check back later. The Yankees have certainly built a minor-league machine that churns out intriguing arms, but most of their top options have been used as trade bait in recent years. We're still waiting for the system to make a clear impact on the big-league roster.

Though development is rarely linear, the name on everybody's lips at the start of this season is a prospect who may have jumped the line: 2022's first-round pick Spencer Jones. Need more proof? Just check out his 2023 Bowman prices for his first-ever licensed baseball card. Or, if you want to retain your sanity, don't.

So far, so extremely good for Jones, who has the unenviable challenge of bettering himself and rising through the Yankees' system (where the odds are stacked against you) while also fighting Aaron Judge comps every step of the way.

Thus far in 2023, his first full professional season, Jones has already managed to be recognized by MLB Pipeline for his explosive start. He was named the Yankees' hottest hitting prospect this week, a title that's tough to dispute.

2023 Bowman Spencer Jones sales are wild for a reason, as Yankees prospect heats up

Jones rose up a few Top 100 prospect lists this offseason, but most evaluators wanted to wait and see. After all, were the Yankees really about to uncover another 6-7 diamond in the rough, after such body types were almost unheard from during baseball's first 150 years?

Apparently, there was something left here to tap. Here's what Pipeline wrote about Jones, who just posted a remarkable game on Tuesday with two triples, a double, and two stolen bases:

"The 25th overall pick in last year's Draft, Jones posted a .963 OPS in his pro debut and is at it again in High-A, batting .300/.343/.617 with six steals and a South Atlantic League-best 11 extra-base hits in 14 games. The lone concern with the athletic Vanderbilt product is that he has a 34 percent strikeout rate."

MLB Pipeline

Strikeouts remain an issue, but ... that might persist until the end of Jones' career, whenever that may come.

As long as he's able to mitigate the issue with hard contact and blazing speed, the Yankees will probably be able to cope. After all, the ceiling is another cornerstone.