Detroit Tigers: Potential Impact of JaCoby Jones
Detroit Tigers fans will see the Major League debut of top prospect JaCoby Jones on Tuesday. The former Pirates farmhand was brought up from the minors. Here’s a look at what Jones could bring to Detroit.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has so far stayed away from making significant trades during his first full regular season in charge.
While Erick Aybar has been Avila and the Tigers most significant in-season acquisition from outside the organization, the club hasn’t shied away from leaning on young players like Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd, Daniel Norris and Bruce Rondon.
Now, it seems another key member of the Tigers future is joining the big league club in Detroit.
Per a series of tweets from the team’s official Twitter account, the Tigers announced a number of roster moves.
First and foremost, is the arrival of JaCoby Jones. Detroit’s Twitter account tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, “The #Tigers have purchased the contract of INF/OF JaCoby Jones from Triple A Toledo. Jones will wear No. 40 for the Tigers.”
Detroit also announced that Blaine Hardy had been brought back up from the Mud Hens, and that Casey McGehee and Matt Boyd will head to Toledo to make room on the active roster.
Jones, who is hitting eighth and playing third base against Chicago tonight, certainly comes with intrigue and significant upside.
Able to play both the infield and the outfield, Jones has the most defensive experience at shortstop, third base and in center field.
Coincidentally, Detroit has been hit with injuries at all three positions as of late. Shortstop Jose Iglesias recently returned from the disabled list, but third baseman Nick Castellanos remains sidelined. Cameron Maybin, who was taken out of last night’s game, was recently deemed “day to day” by Detroit’s official Twitter account. The center fielder “left the game with a left thumb contusion.”
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Jones’ defensive versatility certainly gives him the upside to play in the Major Leagues. However, it is what he could do from an offensive perspective that could make him an impact player.
The 24-year-old is an excellent athlete and has the potential to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.
Since starting his professional career in the Pittsburgh organization in 2013, Jones has accumulated 206 runs scored, 203 RBI, 68 doubles, 58 stolen bases, 47 home runs and 17 triples in just 364 games.
With significant raw power and speed, it isn’t hard to see Jones becoming a fixture in Detroit for the foreseeable future. Jones does have somewhat of a strikeout problem (431 in 364 career games). However, if he can show improvement in that department, he won’t be spending much time in Toledo.
Jones, who joined the Tigers organization in the Joakim Soria deal, could potentially see time on the left side of the infield, or in center field for Detroit. He struggled initially upon being promoted to Toledo earlier in the season, but has rebounded nicely.
Over the past 10 games, the prospect was hitting .298 with seven runs scored, three RBI and two stolen bases. While he did strike out six times, Jones drew four walks over the same span.
If he can provide similar production for Brad Ausmus and company, it would provide a significant boost to Detroit’s bench production. Additionally, Jones’ defensive flexibility and offensive skillset would make him an appealing bench cog in the playoffs.
The arrival of JaCoby Jones in the Major Leagues can only be looked at as a positive for Detroit Tigers fans. Jones, along with the team’s young arms, is an extremely important piece for the future.
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If he can produce while getting his feet wet at the highest level, it will be a win-win for all parties involved.