It's hard to imagine any organization other than the Yankees being prepared to foster the development of 6'7" outfield slugger Spencer Jones. So, with the Aaron Judge blueprint already in place, it's extremely encouraging that all parties involved seem to be following it to a tee.
Right down to the outside help.
The 22-year-old's unique profile and (almost) unprecedented frame make him a development challenge. Long arms lead to a long swing, which leads to an uncomfortable amount of swing-and-miss. Jones had a good full-season debut, but not a great one in 2023, especially considering expectations were raised by his ridiculous 2022 stint (.963 OPS/.344 average in 25 games). He ended up with 16 bombs, a .267 average, a .780 OPS and significant untapped raw power still lurking below the surface.
And, as revealed on the Bronx Pinstripes Show last week (OK, not "revealed," but strongly hinted at), he took his talents to Teacherman after the season ended. "Teacherman" is the alter ego of Richard Schenck, a hitting guru who showed Judge the path and continues to be his consigliere.
Jones is a natural fit in his academy. After all, he unlocked Judge when it was feared nobody could. Who better to work with the Yankees' next behemoth in line for the throne?
Yankees top prospect Spencer Jones works with Aaron Judge's private hitting coach
There's a solid chance that Jones ends up as the Yankees' most exciting prospect by the end of 2024 after flirting with that title several times during the previous year. It's not difficult to envision a world where Judge remains in right, Jones mans center, and Jasson Dominguez plays left (or, perhaps, the reverse), with Juan Soto eventually becoming the team's DH stalwart. Judge could also get off his feet more often, once Giancarlo Stanton is no longer clogging that position.
But the grand plan all starts with Jones' development. If he can continue to reduce his unsightly strikeout rate (155 in 480 at-bats last summer) and learn the art of spraying the ball to all fields (and, yes, over the wall, as Judge has consistently done), he can entrench himself as a part of the solution. And that journey toward dominance seems to involve Judge's private guru, rather than a hodgepodge of the advice of Brad Wilkerson/Brad Ausmus/James Rowson/Luis Rojas. Not a bad place to ground yourself.