Jones has been a known prospect in prospect circles since long before his senior year at The Wesleyan School (Norcross, GA). A fixture on the amateur showcase circuit, the Angels lured him away from a UNC commitment with a $1.1 million bonus in 2015’s second round. Despite explosive athleticism, his arm and reads in center field are fringy. He was an infielder in high school who moved to the outfield in professional baseball, but he’s trying his hand at second base this season.
I saw Jones’ first game back from a quick DL stint that sidelined him from April 14-20. He wasn’t pushed defensively in this look, though his feet worked well around the bag. His 45-grade arm is better suited at second, and while he’s still understandably raw at the position, he has the makeup and athleticism to become a playable glove at the keystone. The bat is the calling card, and the ceiling is that of an offensive contributor who can play center-diamond positions–even if he isn’t a true shortstop. Jones worked the count and showed a feel for the zone, paired with an advanced feel to hit. A hustle player who gets the most out of his plus speed as a result, he dug a 4.15 run time to first while showing 50-grade raw power to boot.
It was only a single-game look, but I came away impressed with the frame and combination of hit and power tools, all while offering above-average value on the bases. Settling in at a position–potentially second base–could help Jones’ bat come along even more as he finds a consistent routine moving up the ladder. He will play the majority of this season at just 20 years old; his ceiling as an offensive-minded regular at the keystone is among the highest in an improving Angels system.