"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Yankees' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Ben Jones, we'll look how he did against the right-handed pitchers versus the southpaws, how he hit with runners in scoring position, and more.
Favors Facing Right-Handed Pitchers: Charleston first baseman Ben Jones, a right-handed batter, actually prefers facing right-handed pitchers, according to his splits with the Riverdogs this past season. Just a .271 hitter against lefties, Jones hit .293 against right-handed pitchers in 2005.
Even more remarkable than his higher batting average against right-handed pitchers versus southpaws was his higher extra-base hit percentage against them as well. Not only did he hit all 14 of his home runs this past year against righties, Jones clubbed 39.6% of his hits against right-handed pitchers for extra bases. Only 19.2% of his hits against lefties were extra-base hits, showing that he does in fact go against traditional baseball splits.
Cold In July: One bad month in July skewed Jones' overall numbers, misrepresenting what was an All-Star year for the Charleston first baseman. Jones, who finished the season with a .288 overall batting average, hit below .282 for an entire month just once this past season, posting a .216 batting average in his 24 games in July.
He began the season hitting .361 with 19 RBI in his first 20 games and finished the season hitting .307 in his final 32 games after his July swoon. If Jones were to have his "normal" production in July instead of his surprisingly sub-par numbers, giving him just seven more hits for the month, he would have finished the season with a batting average over .300.
Fourth or Fifth: Jones batted either fourth or fifth in the Riverdogs' lineup in all but three of his games this past season. And while the majority of his games came batting cleanup - 90 to be exact - his production was eerily the same in either spot in the order. Jones hit .287 batting cleanup and .286 batting fifth, showing a negligible difference in his power production between the two spots.
More Patience As The Designated Hitter: Just a shade over 40% of Jones' at-bats this past season came as the team's designated hitter. And while the splits show he hit for a slightly better average while playing first base (.296), his walk percentage was dramatically higher when penciled in as the DH.
Jones drew exactly one less walk while being the designated hitter, as compared to the games in which he played first base, despite accumulating 93 less at-bats. He posted a .095 walk ratio while being the DH and just a .069 walk ratio in games in which he was the first baseman, a significant difference in his numbers.
It Doesn't Matter: Whether he was on the road or in the friendly confines of Joseph P. Riley Park in Charleston, it didn't matter to Ben Jones. Jones, who hit .287 on the road, hit slightly better at home, posting a .289 home batting average. He not only had the exact same amount of walks at home as he did on the road, he drove home just three more runs at home over the course of the entire season, playing in two more home games than road affairs.
Better In The Clutch: Jones has earned the reputation as being a clutch hitter since being selected in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of the University of Louisiana-Monroe. And his splits with the Riverdogs this past season only solidify that statement.
Jones, who hit just .262 with the bases empty this past season, bumped his average up to .317 with runners on base. 9 of his 14 home runs came with men on base and his highest batting average among his splits came with runners in scoring position, posting a .328 batting average in those situations in 2005. He may not have the sexy power numbers normally associated with a power-hitting position, but he certainly has driven home the big runs when the team has needed them.