Detroit Tigers: Assessing Team’s Center Field Options

Aug 5, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose (left) left fielder Tyler Collins (center) and right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrate after the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 2-1.Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 5, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose (left) left fielder Tyler Collins (center) and right fielder J.D. Martinez (28) celebrate after the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 2-1.Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Aug 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) runs the bases against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

JaCoby Jones

Age: 24
Bats: Right-Handed

Since moving to Detroit in the Joakim Soria deal, JaCoby Jones has quickly established himself as one of the more intriguing young talents in the entire system.

An excellent athlete with the ability to make an impact with his speed and power, Jones has plenty of upside.

He made his Major League debut down the stretch in 2016, contributing three doubles, three runs scored and a pair of RBI in 28 at-bats.

Why He’ll Start in Center Field for the Detroit Tigers

There are relatively few players in either the Majors or minors with Jones’ skill set. Given a full season of at-bats, it’s not hard to imagine him registering 15-20 home runs and a similar number of stolen bases.

Inserting the former Pittsburgh farmhand into the lineup will certainly help from a base-running standpoint. In just 13 games, Jones’ 0.6 UBR ranked sixth on the team. What’s more, his 0.7 BsR checked in at seventh on Detroit’s roster.

If Jones can hit somewhere in the .250 neighborhood while reaching double digits in home runs and stolen bases, he’d represent the Tigers best option in center field.

Why He Won’t Start in Center Field for the Detroit Tigers

While Jones has the potential to one day be an All-Star caliber player, his game is still very much developing.

The 24-year-old didn’t draw a walk in his 13-game stint with the Tigers. Additionally, he struck out 12 times.

Somewhat similar to Steven Moya, strikeouts have been a slight problem. In 99 games split between Double-A and Triple-A, Jones went down on strikes 120 times while drawing just 35 walks.

If JaCoby Jones can cut down on his strikeouts, the sky is the limit.