Yankees pick Vanderbilt outfielder Spencer Jones in MLB Draft

LOS ANGELES — The Yankees have drafted another 6-foot-7 college outfielder who hails from California.


They can only hope it turns out 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 has drawn some comparisons to Judge with his big frame and athleticism, although he bats left-handed.

This spring, in 61 games as a junior with the Commodores, Jones hit .370 with 12 home runs, 14 steals 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 went unsigned after the Angels drafted him in the 31st round in 2019 — but ran into injury troubles that ended his run as a pitcher. During his senior year of high school, he underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his left (throwing) elbow and then had Tommy John surgery in 2020.

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

But Jones became an Everyday player at Vanderbilt this spring, reestablishing his value as the No. 51 draft prospect per MLB.com, No. 20 per ESPN and No. 79 per The Athletic.

“We were very happy to have been able to select Spencer,” Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting, said in a statement. “We love how athletic he is and that he can play center field. He is a legitimate five-tool type guy with big power and plus speed. He has some of the best exit velocity in this year’s draft. 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, that Judge played for in 2012 — Jones hit .312 with a .904 OPS in the wooden-bat league that can often serve as a separator for draft prospects.

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

The Yankees rounded out their first night of the draft by selecting Cal Poly right-hander Drew Thorpe with the No. 61 picks (second round). According to MLB.com, they could have the best changeup in this year’s draft class.

“We love Drew’s size and the Major League stuff and command he possesses,” Oppenheimer said. “We have seen him up to 96 (mph) and he has arguably the best changeup in the draft. He is still projectable to add velocity and his overall ability to create swing-and-miss is elite. He has the ability to move quickly through the minor leagues with a good Major League starter ceiling.”



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