One June 24th the San Francisco Giants promoted third base prospect Ryder Jones to the major league roster. He’s played in four games so far, going 0-for-13 with two strikeouts. Let’s take a quick look at his background and possible future.
Ryder Jones was drafted in the second round in 2013 from high school in Boone, North Carolina. He was committed to Stanford; he was seen as a fourth round talent by most teams but the Giants had to draft him in the second round to get him to sign.
He hit well in rookie ball (.317/.394/.400) but slumped on promotion to full-season ball in 2014 (.225/.277/.351). His 2015 (.268/.296/.394 in High-A) and 2016 (.241/.297/.397 in Double-A) showed slight improvements but were nothing special.
Jones was rated as a Grade C prospect pre-season, un-ranked among the San Francisco Giants Top 20 prospects list for 2017.
2017 has been much different: .299/.390/.553 with 10 homers, 26 walks, and 46 strikeouts in 197 at-bats for Triple-A Sacramento.
Jones is listed at 6-3, 215, a left-handed hitter born June 7th, 1994. Quite honestly he did not show much with the bat until this year; the numbers were mediocre and the scouting reports concentrated more on his strong throwing arm and overall work ethic than his hitting ability; his bat speed in particular was critiqued as mediocre.
However, things have changed this year. He has been much more selective; he’s already matched his career-high in walks. He is hitting the ball in the air more often and tapping his power much more consistently. At age 23, he’s young enough for the changes to be real and not mere statistical flukes, and the Giants do have a track record of helping similar hitters develop.
Defense remains a concern. He has a good arm but his range and reactions at third base are below average. The Giants were giving him some playing time in the outfield in Triple-A but the lack of speed stands out there too. He’s best at first base, but his bat may still not be quite enough for the position full-time.
Overall he projects as a useful role player with some pop in the bat.