#30: Ryder Jones, 3B, Age 21: The former 2nd round pick and son of a college baseball coach landed at #17 on my pre-season prospects list in 2014 after hitting .317 in his debut summer for the AZL Giants. He opened his first full season as Augusta’s starting SS in favor of Christian Arroyo (a move that still makes me scratch my head some to this day, though both were high school SS), where Jones held his own offensively in the first half, but was demoted to Salem-Keizer after slumping that summer. He hit a combined .225 with 10 HR between both stops, and fell to #26 on my prospects list last winter.
Jones’ average rose to .268 at San Jose in 2015, but he only hit 6 HR and walked just 16 times (with 80 K) in 432 PA. He also committed 19 errors for the 2nd season in a row. It’s hard to make any conclusions from MiLB fielding %, but 44 errors in parts of 3 career seasons is still a bit concerning, and makes me wonder if Jones isn’t a future 1B. Considering he has one of the stronger arms in the system, there’s a chance the organization could try him in the OF as well. Like a handful of other players currently in the system, he’ll really have to increase his power output if he wants to make it at either corner profile.
Jones still has relative youth and physical size on his size, but his left-handed swing can get long at times, and he’s struggled to make consistent contact thus far because of it. A repeat of the Cal League (where he could have competition between fellow top 50 prospects like Arenado, Gomez and Vizcaino) seems appropriate for him at this point.