Scouting Report: 1B, Ben Jones
Ben Jones Is As Solid As They Come
Ben Jones Is As Solid As They Come

Posted Nov 19, 2005


The New York Yankees drafted first baseman Ben Jones in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of the University of Louisiana-Monroe. After a solid debut with the Staten Island Yankees in 2004, Jones arguably became Charleston's most consistent and clutch hitter in 2005. Here is a scouting report on Ben Jones.

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Vital Statistics:
Name: Ben Jones
Position: First Base
DOB: July 3, 1981
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: The New York Yankees selected Ben Jones in the 14th round (429th Overall) of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft.

Ben Jones, one of the more quiet and unassuming players in the farm system, lets his bat do the talking for him, as evidenced by his two solid seasons since being drafted out of the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He hit 23 home runs in his final two years of college and he has continued his good power hitting as a professional.

He finished his second professional season with the second most home runs (14), tied for the team lead in doubles (33), and lead the team in RBI (77) on the Charleston Riverdogs. Throw in the fact that the agile first baseman hit .328 with runners in scoring position this past season, continually providing in the clutch situations, it was another solid year for Jones.

The ultimate team player and modest in his accomplishments, the 2005 South Atlantic League All-Star's great stats aren't very important to him.

"Personal goals are really not a big deal for me," Ben Jones told PinstripesPlus.com. "I just try and put up the numbers I can put up. I was just trying to be productive. I just wanted to come out and play hard. Usually the personal stuff takes care of itself when you're winning. I didn't really have a ballpark of the type of numbers I wanted. I just wanted to be productive and that was it."

The only negative to Jones' All-Star campaign with the Riverdogs in 2005 was a mild slump in July where he hit just .216 over a 24-game stretch. However, it was the first time in his life that he had played baseball everyday in a long-season league, something Jones will have to acclimate himself to as he continues to progress through the Yankees' farm system.

"Yeah, this is kind of what I expected," Jones told us in an earlier interview about his expectations playing in a long-season league for the first time. "I was a little more worried about the physical aspect of it and whether or not I would last the whole season, which at times has been a little difficult. But it has been pretty much what I had expected."

But even when things weren't working his way for the normally consistent run producer, Jones realizes that slumps are part of baseball and must be taken in stride.

"I might have had a few mechanical things going on with my swing," Jones revealed. "Me and 'Tys' [hitting coach Torre Tyson] worked on some things to get it back. That's going to happen though. In 400 or 500 at-bats you're going to have down times. But I hadn't really done anything different. Maybe the swing was a little funny, but I've got a good swing [back] now."

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2005

Charleston

.288

475

33

14

77

64

6

42

103

.364

.455

2004

Staten Island

.280

150

6

6

26

16

0

12

47

.337

.440



Batting and Power. Jones has a very professional approach at the plate and keeps an even-keeled demeanor in every at-bat, a quality that is somewhat expected from a 24-year playing against much younger competition. He is a very good contact hitter with excellent gap power and developing home run power. His transition to the wooden bat has gone over smoothly, as evidenced by the type of years he has produces thus far. Jones has a lot more power than he has shown thus far and he could become a 20-25 home run hitter as he continues to mature.

Base Running and Speed. For a big guy, Jones can move a little. He's not a real threat on the base paths but with his natural baseball knowledge and instincts, Jones will swipe a bag when the pitcher and catcher are not paying attention. He has good speed for a first baseman, but that isn't exactly high praise.

Defense. As solid as his offense game is, so is Jones' defensive ability. He is agile for a big first baseman, showing good range around the bag. Jones, who pitched some growing up, also has a good arm. He might not be a Gold Glove caliber defender, but he can more than hold his own defensively.

Projection. Just a little more than a full year into his professional career, Jones projects to be more of a bench player than a starter at the Major League level. He's a solid player who has certainly proven to be a clutch hitter, but he doesn't possess the plus power normally associated with a power-hitting position like first base, at least, not enough to safely project to be a starter. Jones could turn a few more of his doubles into home runs, so being a starter in the Majors is not out of the question. But at 24-years old, Jones is going to have to show that he can handle the higher minor league levels in order to get his shot.

ETA. 2008. As mentioned above, Jones' advanced age is an obstacle to his potential Major League future. The fact that fellow farmhand John Urick plays the same position, is left-handed, and is already up a level from him, puts Jones farther back on the current first base depth chart. If and when Jones makes it to Yankee Stadium, he'll have to do it as a reserve player. He appears ticketed for Tampa in 2006, making his possible Major League debut more like 2008.

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