The Tigers transferred infielder JaCoby Jones to Triple-A Toledo today.
— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) June 6, 2016
Jones, who we ranked as the Tigers third best prospect prior to the season (click here to view), missed the first 50 games of the season due to a suspension. However he hit the ground running once active, hitting .312 with 4 HR (as well as 6 doubles and 2 triples), 20 RBI, 11 R and 2 SB over 77 AB at Double-A.
Acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Joakim Soria last season, he showed both power (18 HR) and speed (25 SB). The big question is going to be his ability to make consistent contact, as he struggled this season (25.8% strikeout rate) and in ’15 as well (he had 11 PA with the Pirates’ Double-A team, but it’s too small of a sample size):
- High-A (Pirates) – 26.7%
- Double-A (Tigers) – 32.5%
Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 discussed the issue prior to the season, saying:
“The problem is his approach. He’s very aggressive at the plate and will expand the strike zone leading to his high strikeout totals. His swing can also get lengthy, particularly early in counts. That leads to swings and misses, poor hitting counts, and ultimately – strikeouts.”
Jones obviously deserved the promotion to Triple-A, but how he adjusts is going to be key. At 24-years old and with the versatility he’s added there’s every reason to believe that he’s going to arrive in the Majors at some point in ’16, assuming he proves he can handle the pitching at the highest level.
Can he do it? That remains to be seen, but the Tigers have started moving Jones all around the diamond, with him seeing time at 1B, 3B and CF this season (he had primarily been a SS). With his bat, that versatility would clearly add to his appeal and give him an opportunity to force his way into the lineup.
Preseason Grade – B
Upside Grade – B+
Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Prospect 361