Tigers Prospect Profile #27: Corey Jones

Jones spent the summer at West Michigan

Corey Jones joined the organization last summer and quickly made an impact as a quality hitter for the offensively-challenged West Michigan Whitecaps. Jones can certainly hit, but what else can the 23-year old accomplish on the diamond?

Corey Jones
Position: Second Baseman
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190
Born: 9/14/1987
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Background
A member of the Cal State Fullerton team that featured first rounders Christian Colon and Gary Brown, Jones got plenty of time in front of scouts during the 2010 college season. That additional exposure allowed him to show his own skills after missing much of the 2009 season after a broken leg forced him to red-shirt.

Signed for $115,000 as a seventh round pick by the Tigers, Jones jumped to Low-A West Michigan after just three games in the Gulf Coast League, and he didn't waste any time letting his bat do the talking. In 48 games as the ‘Caps primary second baseman in the second half, Jones hit a robust .360 with 17 walks against just 27 strikeouts. He also ripped 19 doubles and drove in thirty teammates as he helped the team make a late season push toward the playoffs.

Scouting Report
Jones is a bat first guy, and really he's a bat only guy at second base. He has an innate ability to make contact on all types of pitches and multiple scouts put 60-65 grades on his hit tool this summer. He knows the strike zone, doesn't chase many pitches out of the zone, and even when he does, he has the ability to get a piece of them and stay alive.

Though he has well below-average home run power, he's not a slap hitter either, demonstrating the ability to get enough on the ball to get it into the gaps. He can sting it more to the pull side however, and when he goes the opposite way he generally just serves it out there.

Jones is a fringe-average runner with a thick lower half, and he could slow down more as his body finishes filling out entering his mid-20s.

Defensively, there is a lot of skepticism surrounding his game at second base. He lacks range and instincts, and his hands often grade out pretty iffy. He plays hard at the position and is willing to put in the work to improve, but he has yet to show the aptitude for good glove work.

The Tigers worked hard with Jones on his double-play turns during the Fall Instructional League, and though he improved, his transfer and release are still slow, and his fringy arm can be exposed on quick turns.

Jones' bat is absolutely his meal ticket, and he will have to continue to hit for a big average to carry any value at all. He lacks the arm for third base, or the power profile for a corner outfield slot, which limits him to being a bat-first second baseman. Because his hit tool is so good, the Tigers will give him every chance to hit his way up the ladder.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

R

GCL Tigers

5

.000

0

0

1

1

0

.250

.000

A

West Mich.

189

.360

19

0

30

27

17

.450

.460


Health Record
As previously mentioned, Jones missed the entire 2009 college season with a severe broken leg. He came back to play well in the Northwoods League that summer, and he hasn't shown any significant ill effects of the injury since that time. Jones has a rather unathletic body and he can get himself out of position – particularly around the bag – at second base, which may leave him exposed to more contact than normally expected.

The Future
Jones will start his first full minor league season at High-A Lakeland, playing every day up the middle for the Flying Tigers. There is no reason to believe he won't continue to hit for average and get on base at a well above-average clip.

With Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes battling it out in Detroit, and Brandon Douglas hitting very well above him on the organizational ladder, the 23-year old Jones will have a small window to distinguish himself and get a chance at the big leagues with the Tigers. Don't rule out the possibility of a mid-season promotion if he continues to hit in Lakeland.

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