A standout hockey center before concussion issues forced him to focus on baseball, Jones developed into one of the best prep hitters in the 2016 Draft and signed for first-round money ($2.25 million) in the second round. He has performed well everywhere he has played as a pro, and in 2019 he led the Minors with 96 walks, advanced to Double-A at age 21 and played in both the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game. His only action in 2020 came at alternative camp and in instructional league, and he stood out in both places with his offensive approach and dedication to improving his defense.
Jones exudes patience at the plate, waiting for pitches he can hammer and taking walks if pitchers decline to challenge him. His combination of bat speed and strength plus the loft and leverage in his left-handed swing give him well above-average power that plays to all fields. His willingness to work deep counts and the length in his naturally long stroke do lead to strikeouts, an acceptable tradeoff for his pop and on-base ability, though he'll have to make adjustments to solve left-handers after hitting .167/.316/.286 against them in his first two years of full-season ball.
Jones has more athleticism than his below-average speed would indicate and has worked to transition from a high school shortstop into an acceptable third baseman. He has the strong arm desired at the hot corner and his footwork, agility and range all have gotten better since he turned pro. Because the Indians have José Ramirez at third and need outfielders, they began working him at the latter position during instructional league.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Jones initially stood out as a hockey center before concussion issues led him to focus on baseball, where he developed into one of the best high school hitters in the 2016 Draft. After lasting until the second round amid signability concerns but landing a first-round bonus ($2.25 million), he has produced everywhere he has gone in pro ball. He led the Minors with 96 walks in 2019, reaching Double-A at age 21 and getting selected to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game.
Jones utilizes a patient approach at the plate, waiting for pitches he can punish and using the entire field. His bat speed and strength could translate into 30 homers per season, especially since he started to add more loft to his left-handed stroke in 2019. The length in his swing and his willingness to work deep counts result in a strikeout rate that has risen as he has climbed through the Minors, but his ability to draw walks should lead to healthy on-base percentages if not high batting averages.
A better athlete than his below-average speed might indicate, Jones has worked hard to transition from high school shortstop to pro third baseman. He has the strong arm required at the hot corner and he has improved his footwork and agility. He's on his way to becoming an average defender at third base and has a fallback of playing the other infield or outfield corners.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Jones took to hockey before baseball and showed promise as a center before concussion issues caused him to focus on the diamond. One of the better high school hitters in the 2016 Draft, he dropped to the second round amid signability concerns but landed first-round bonus money ($2.25 million). After a so-so pro debut, he led the short-season New York-Penn League with a .912 OPS in 2017, ranked third in the Class A Midwest League with an .858 mark last year and posted a .910 OPS during the final month in Class A Advanced.
Jones has an advanced approach at the plate, patiently working counts and using the entire field. He has a smooth left-handed swing and impressive feel to hit, and he shows the ability to produce high batting averages despite working deep counts that lead to some strikeouts. His bat speed and strength give him promising power potential that could produce 25 or more homers per season, especially if he adds some loft to a stroke that's currently more geared for line drives.
Though he's a below-average runner, Jones is a decent athlete and has worked hard to make the transition from amateur shortstop to pro third baseman. He has a strong arm and has improved his footwork, but still needs to increase his range in order to become an average defender at the hot corner. If he can't, his alternatives would be first base or an outfield corner.
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
One of the premier prep hitters in the 2016 Draft, Jones likely would have been a first-round pick if not for signability concerns that ultimately led to his selection by the Indians in the second round. After signing for nearly twice slot value, Jones made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League before advancing to the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League in 2017, leading the circuit in on-base percentage (.430) and OPS (.912) while also pacing all Indians farmhands with a .317 average.
A left-handed hitter, Jones combines bat speed with a fluid stroke and natural feel for the barrel to generate hard contact across the field. He knows how to get on base, too, showing advanced plate discipline and an age-defying approach that helped him lead the NY-PL in both walks (43) and OBP as a teenager. And while Jones' impressive raw power has yet to translate during games, scouts do expect him to develop above-average power as he adds strength to his athletic and highly projectable frame and trims some of the swing-and-miss from his game.
The Indians moved Jones off shortstop, his position as a prep, to third base upon his entering the pro ranks. His size and physicality are clean fits at the hot corner, as are his plus arm strength and average speed, though some evaluators believe his inconsistent glove work will eventually land him in right field. Regardless of his future defensive home, Jones has the bat and offensive ceiling needed to become an impactful everyday player at the highest level.