Yankees select Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones in MLB draft

LOS ANGELES — The Yankees drafted another 6-foot-7 varsity outfielder from California.

They can only hope it goes half as well as their selection of Aaron Judge in 2013.

With the No. 25 pick in Sunday’s MLB Draft, the Yankees landed Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones, who drew comparisons to Judge with his big frame and athleticism, though he bats left-handed. .

This spring, in 61 games as a junior with the Commodores, Jones hit .370 with 12 homers, 14 interceptions and a 1.103 OPS, spending all of his time in right field.

Jones was a two-way player out of high school in California — he didn’t sign after the Angels drafted him in the 31st round in 2019 — but struggled with injury issues that ended his run in as a pitcher. During his senior year of high school, he underwent surgery to repair a broken left elbow (throwing), then underwent surgery at Tommy John in 2020.

Vanderbilt’s Spencer Jones was selected in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Yankees on Sunday.

But Jones has become an everyday player at Vanderbilt this spring, restoring his value as the No. 51 draft prospect by MLB.com, No. 20 by ESPN and No. 79 by The Athletic.

“We were very happy that we were able to select Spencer,” Damon Oppenheimer, vice president of national amateur scouting for the Yankees, said in a statement. “We love how athletic he is and how he can play center field. He’s a legit five-tool type guy with great power and more speed. He has one of the best exit speeds in the draft in this year. We are really excited about his ceiling.

A strong summer last year in the Cape Cod Baseball League also boosted Jones’ stock. Playing for the Brewster Whitecaps – the same team, coincidentally, Judge played for in 2012 – Jones hit .312 with a .904 OPS in the wooden bats league that can often serve as a divider for hopes of draft.

Jones became the first outfielder the Yankees have selected with their first-round pick since Blake Rutherford in 2016.

The Yankees ended their first night of the draft by selecting Cal Poly right-hander Drew Thorpe with the No. 61 pick (second round). According to MLB.com, he may have the best change in this year’s draft class.

“We love Drew’s size and the Major League stuff and command he has,” Oppenheimer said. “We’ve seen him up to 96 (mph) and he’s got arguably the best change in the draft. He’s still throwable to add speed and his overall ability to create swing-and-misses is elite. He has the ability to move quickly into the minor leagues with a good Major League starting cap.

New York Post

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