MLB Draft Profile: Spencer Jones

MLB Draft Profile: Spencer Jones

by July 16, 2022 0 comments

Even when they don’t have as great a season as they are used to, Vanderbilt consistently develops strong MLB-level talent. Outside of former Vanderbilt pitcher Kumar Rocker, the Commodores’ top prospect this year is outfielder Spencer Jones. The California native looks to go within the first two rounds of this year’s draft.

Make sure to check out all of our other MLB Draft Profiles.

Spencer Jones, OF, Vanderbilt 

Height: 6’7”
Weight: 225 lbs.
DOB: 5/14/2001
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
2020: 14 G, .206/.333/.324, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 8 R, 7 K, 4 BB
2021:
34 G, .274/.346/.421, 3 HR, 5 2B, 10 RBI, 16 R, 4 SB, 33 K, 7 BB
2022: 
61 G, .370/.460/.643, 12 HR, 21 2B, 60 RBI, 62 R, 14 SB, 64 K, 32 BB

Scouting Grades 

Hit: 50
Power: 60
Run: 55
Field: 50
Arm: 50
Overall: 50

Jones was one of the top two-way prospects going into the 2019 MLB Draft as a California prep product. But after undergoing surgery to repair a small fracture in his pitching elbow, he slipped to the 31st round where the Los Angeles Angels took him. He kept his strong commitment to Vanderbilt and required Tommy John surgery in July 2020 after trying to return to pitching in summer ball. Jones missed part of last season while rehabbing and didn’t become an everyday position player until this season. He raked throughout the season to really elevate his stock.

Strengths 

Jones has tremondous raw power which came out this past season and he also hits the ball very hard. His batted ball profile is filthy good, and he hit the hardest ball in college baseball history with a 119.1 mph line drive single to right field. He posted a Top 8th exit velocity of 112.1 mph, which is the best of the entire draft and only beat out by Giancarlo Stanton of all major leaguers.

At 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds, Jones is built like a brick house and doesn’t have to do much to get balls out. He was only in the seventh percentile for outfield flyball rate, but that doesn’t matter much when he is strong enough to get line drives out. As large of a man he is, Jones also has good speed as he can steal his share of bases and go from first to third on base hits. He is able to cover some ground in the outfield and has an average arm out there.

Weaknesses 

The only real knock on Jones is that his swing is naturally long and he will have trouble on inside fastballs. His pull rates are well below average which will weaken his power output. It obviously isn’t a bad thing to go the other way but he will need to learn to adjust to pitches on the inner half and still make quality contact. There are swing-and-miss concerns, as well, but that often happens with pure power hitters. However, if he does begin trying to elevate the ball more, that will put a damper on his contact rates. The whiff rates could go more towards Joey Gallo territory, which is scary. 

Pro Comparison: Aaron Judge

The profiles are very similar and you can also make the comparison to Stanton. The trio of outfield sluggers hits the ball very hard and neither of them fully tapped into their raw power in college. Judge also has underrated speed on the bases and plays strong defense in the outfield. Judge elevates the ball a bit more, while Stanton and Jones are similar in the fact they have higher exit velocities and hit line drives often.

Draft Projection: New York Yankees, Round 1, Pick 25

The Yankees have reportedly been eyeying Jones with their first round pick, and why not get another Judge/Stanton type? Not that they would be drafting Judge’s replacement, but just knowing the fact that type of bat profile has worked extremely well for them. Judge is a free agent after this season, of course, but the Yankees would like to retain him as he is the midst of an MVP-level season. Judge took time to develop and adjust before making his debut at age-25, and Jones has that type of potential.


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Main Image Credit: From The Athletic

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