New York Yankees top prospect Spencer Jones might be struggling a bit since his promotion to Double-A Somerset, but it turns out if the spotlight gets cranked up a bit, the larger-than-life slugger is ready to seize the moment.
On Friday night against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats with Toronto Blue Jays No. 1 prospect Ricky Tiedemann on the mound, Jones wasted no time clobbering the left-hander in the first inning. He took Tiedemann deep in his first at-bat with a bomb to right field.
The Patriots would end up winning 3-2. That was Jones' lone hit, but the two-run shot was very much the difference maker. As for Tiedemann, he lasted just two innings and gave up all three earned runs on three hits and three walks. He struck out four, but fell to 0-5 at Double-A and watched his ERA jump to 5.06 and WHIP to 1.50.
That's the Blue Jays' top prospect? We know the kid is a strikeout machine, but he's now taken a massive step back in his second professional season. Last year, he finished with a 2.17 ERA and 0.86 WHIP with 117 strikeouts in 18 starts (78.2 innings) across Single-A, High-A and Double-A.
In 2023, he's dealt with left bicep inflammation that's limited him to 14 starts, but he's walked 20 batters in 40 innings. He's also yet to make a start longer than 4.2 innings (his only outing more than 3.2 innings) at Double-A this year.
Before Friday's game, he had yet to surrender a home run on the season. Jones was the first to get him with that effortless rocket.
Yankees' Spencer Jones destroying HR off Blue Jays top prospect is so satisfying
In his first 15 Double-A games, Jones hit just .220 with a .631 OPS with two homers, but he also stole seven bags and scored eight runs while playing impressive defense. Amid the offensive struggles, it's encouraging to see he's not intimidated or backing down from equally heralded top talent on the opposition.
Lost in the mix of Jones taking centerstage was pitching prospect Richard Fitts yet again twirling a gem. The right-hander allowed one earned run on four hits and a walk while striking out 11 over 6.2 innings of work to improve to 11-5 on the season. Blue Jays No. 7 prospect Alan Roden was 0-for-3 against Fitts.
Fitts now owns a 3.48 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 163 strikeouts in 27 Double-A starts (152.2 innings) this season. He looks ready for Triple-A and can't be too far off from his Yankees' debut if all goes as planned to start 2024.
Jones may need a little bit more time, but with the way the Yankees have been aggressive with their prospects as of late, all it might take is a 2024 hot streak from both of these promising talents to see them in the Bronx.