Ryder Jones’ Hot Season at AAA

To my great surprise, Ryder Jones is having a breakout season at AAA Sacramento this year.  He’s currently slashing .293/.388/.549 after never posting an OPS higher than .690 in the three previous seasons of his professional career.

The main reason for the improvement appears to be better strike zone judgment and/or pitch recognition.  Last year at AA Richmond, Jones walked 26 times in 513 plate appearances.  That was his highest walks rate since playing Rookie League ball in 2013.

This season, Jones has walked 25 times in 214 plate appearances.  Swinging at fewer bad pitches has boosted both his batting average and his power numbers this season.

The Giants saw something in Jones when they selected him with the 64th pick (2nd round) of the 2013 MLB Draft, well before anyone else had him rated.  I was annoyed at the time that the Giants signed him for full slot money, when he seemed like an obvious guy to sign for less in order to sign some other players elsewhere in the draft, particularly given that Jones was a year older than the average high school draftee.

Jones’ minor league numbers until this season have not been impressive.  He hasn’t really hit, and his defense at 3B is marginal at best.

In hind sight, Jones’ bat did show signs of life last season at AA Richmond, playing his home games in a very tough place to hit.  He then hit well in the Arizona Fall League (.302 batting average, .802 OPS) last fall.

It remains to be seen whether Jones’ half season at AAA is the real deal, or a half season fluke.  However, he’s still only 23 years old this year, so there is that reason to think his recent performance may be the real deal.

To play in the majors, Jones will have to hit like a major leaguer.  He has played 3B, 1B and the corner outfield positions this year, and his 3B defense is unlikely to make him a long-term starter at that position without substantial improvement.

The Giants don’t need another 1Bman right now, and Austin Slater has been a very pleasant surprise in the outfield since his recent call-up.  Jones will also be competing with Orlando Calixte and Mac Williamson, if the Giants decide to promote another outfielder.

If it was up to me, I’d probably leave Jones at AAA for much of the rest of the 2017 season in order to find out whether his first half performance is for real.  Also, Jones still needs work on his glove at 3B and has only just started to play in the outfield this season.

FYI — Christian Arroyo went 7 for 24 with a home run after being sent back down to AAA Sacramento.  He was then hit on the hand by a pitch, and he’s currently only the 7-Day disabled list.  However, the x-rays of his hand came back negative, so it’s probably just a bone bruise.


Explore posts in the same categories: Minor Leagues, San Francisco Giants

One Comment on “Ryder Jones’ Hot Season at AAA”

  1. Burly Says:

    The Giants have decided Ryder Jones’ time is now. He went 0-for-4 in his first major league game yesterday.

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