Scouting profile: JaCoby Jones
Right-handed hitting JaCoby Jones was an integral part of three state championships at Richton (Miss.) High School. He was named the Mississippi Player of the Year in 2010. The Houston Astros selected him in the 19th round of the 2010 Draft. He chose not to sign and ultimately wound up at Louisiana State University, where he was the team's starting second baseman for three seasons.
His competitive drive and ambition led to the Pittsburgh Pirates selecting the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Jones in the third round of the 2013 Draft. He was drafted as an outfielder, a position he played only briefly in college for the LSU Tigers, and the Pirates converted him to shortstop.
Jones has shown a history of being an intense, emotional player. He will do whatever it takes for his team to succeed.
In July this year, Jones was traded by the Pirates to the Tigers in the deal that involved Joakim Soria going to Pittsburgh.
The athletic Jones is No. 10 among the Tigers' Top 30 Prospects.
A knee injury 15 games into his rookie year cost him some early development time, but he has rebounded well and has completed parts of three seasons in the Minor Leagues. After his trade to Detroit, Jones was assigned to Double-A Erie, hitting .250 in 136 at-bats. He had six home runs, seven doubles and two triples in that brief time. So far in the Arizona Fall League, Jones has played third base, shortstop and served as a designated hitter. He finished the first week hitting two home runs and driving in four for the Scottsdale Scorpions. His efforts earned him Co-Player Of The Week honors.
Jones has shown outstanding bat speed. His hands are lightning quick through the ball. His swing is a bit aggressive at this point, as he leaves little doubt he is swinging for the fences.
Jones can turn well on inside pitches, but he covers the plate well enough to take outside offerings to the opposite field.
Jones has average ability at shortstop. He looks a bit awkward, even though he has the speed to have better-than-average range. He just doesn't have the quick reactions and natural shortstop instincts one would expect.
Because he has such good speed, maybe he'd find more success and a quicker path to the big leagues as a solid, power-hitting center fielder or second baseman.
Jones leaves little doubt he can hit for average and he can hit for power. He has 40 home runs in what amounts to only two full seasons of Minor League baseball.
Speed is his next most prominent tool. This past season he stole 25 bases. He can run from home to first 4.1 seconds. That's very good.
The combination of power and speed will work well regardless of his position on defense.
Jones may find success and a more consistent batting average if he continues his efforts to lose some of his aggressiveness at the plate. He has to tame his swing a bit, recognize pitches more quickly and tone down his emotions.
There have been high strikeout totals in his Minor League career so far.
I find this interesting
On June 7, 2013, when LSU played Oklahoma in the NCAA super regional, Jones faced current Colorado starter Jon Gray. In a scoreless game, Jones hit an eighth-inning triple and later doubled in his team's extra-inning win.
The future for Jones
Still young and developing, it remains to be seen if Jones can become a Major League-quality shortstop. For now, his bat is ahead of his glove. However, he could project as an average-to-above-average-hitting center fielder.
Regardless of his position, he has such a loud bat that he may eventually hit himself on to the big league club.
Jones in a word