2008 ranking: Not ranked
School: Spring High School, Texas
Became a Cardinal: Selected in the third round (110th overall) of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
Selected 2008 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)
Dustin Mattison (4): With tools that Jeff Luhnow says "are comparable to Colby Rasmus", things seemed to click with Daryl Jones in 2009. Always known as a "toolsy" player, it was fantastic to see him finally match the tools with production on the field.
Though he posted fantastic numbers at Palm Beach, I was admittedly concerned when the Cardinals promoted the 21 year old to Springfield Jones maintained his superb on base percentage while raising his isolated power by 60 points. Also impressive, he was able to increase his walk rate after joining the Texas League.
Jones should start the year back at Springfield but could definitely play himself into the Memphis outfield rotation next season. The sky seems to be the limit for the former highly regarded football recruit.
Ray Mileur (6): The 21-year-old outfielder combined for a .316 batting average with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs, between Palm Beach and the Springfield Cardinals. With the Double-A Cardinals in the heat of a pennant race in August, Jones hit .319 in 29 games with five home runs, four doubles, five stolen bases and 12 RBIs down the stretch. The Cardinals Minor League Position Player of the Year and the Birdhouse's Palm Beach Cardinals Player of the Year, could also be considered the Comeback Player of the Year, considering in 2007 he hit a line of, .217/.304/.296 (BA/OBP/SLG), compared to a line of .316/.407/.483, in 2008. Jones is beginning to live up to his potential and should be eating Memphis Bar-B-Que sometime next season.
Message board community (4): Jones came into his own in 2008 and showed flashes of the potential that most have longed believed he possessed. In 2008 he set career highs in average, OBP, and slugging %. Jones compiled these statistics while splitting time between A level Palm Beach and AA Springfield.
Jones' season was not without red flags. His BABIP at Both Palm Beach and especially Springfield were well above normal and his road statistics at Springfield were nothing short of mediocre. Jones will be hard pressed to repeat his 2008 performance without even further improvement. Cardinal's Director of Scouting and Development would seem to be one who thinks that improvement is very likely. He recently described Jones as Colby Rasmus without the strong arm. That is high praise indeed.
Regardless of any improvement, Jones most likely will spend a good portion of 2009 in AA Springfield refining his skills due to his youth and an already crowded OF situation at Memphis. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (6): I thought Ray's remark about Comeback Player of the Year was an interesting one. Fact is that Jones never previously had a great year to come back to. All the excitement over his career bests should be tempered by the fact his previous career bests were simply not exceptional.
No player better than Jones can illustrate how volatile these rankings can be. 12 months ago, he didn't score a single vote in any of our four voters' top 40 Cardinals prospects lists. The previous year, he came in at #17 solely based on potential.
Jones did have a fine 2008, though there are come concerns, as Carioca identified. Perhaps partially because they want to see the former third rounder succeed so badly, Jones was anointed by the Cardinals as their top player in the entire system last season.
That didn't happen here at The Birdhouse. In my book, consistency is as important as results. Jones now has one season of the latter under his belt, but still has to prove the former. If he is as good as the Cardinals say he is, he sure had better not get buried in Double-A. As soon as he is ready for Memphis, get him up there and get him in the lineup.
Just like the recent predictions about Rasmus "shoving aside" others with less talent, the Cardinals should give Jones the same opportunity. If he comes anywhere near repeating his 2008 numbers, then I will be first in line to recognize him. In the meantime, I am going to be from Missouri. Show me. Again.
To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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