Winner #1 JaCoby Jones
The Detroit Tigers haven’t produced many impact Major League players from the minor league system. Justin Verlander, Nick Castellanos and Rick Porcello serve as the three most notable examples in recent memory, but that’s been about it.
However, things could be changing.
While all have excellent potential, the first of Detroit’s new wave of young talent to reach the Majors was JaCoby Jones.
A versatile defender with the ability to contribute with plus speed and power, Jones has all kinds of potential. If he can keep his strikeouts in check, the former Pittsburgh farmhand can be an elite player.
With Maybin now in Anaheim, Jones faces significantly less competition in terms of starting for the Detroit Tigers in 2017.
Right now, his immediate competition includes Tyler Collins and Anthony Gose. Collins has shown upside in the past, but logged just an 84 wRC+ and a .299 wOBA last season. A natural corner outfielder, he may be better suited as a bench cog or platoon option.
Then there’s Gose, whose wRC+ (69) and wOBA (.277) made Collins’ numbers look much more appealing. This is all without mentioning the outfielder’s struggles in the minors following a demotion last year. Gose hit .224 in 40 games at Double-A, while batting .185 with a .255 on-base percentage in Triple-A.
Provided he produces in Spring Training, JaCoby Jones could open the season as Detroit’s starting center fielder. Given his potential, he could stick at the position for the foreseeable future.