Prospect Scouting Report: Terry Jones

It's a tragic story, but one that tends to repeat itself throughout sports. A talented athlete is taken high in a draft and then falls victim to injuries. For Terry Jones, the story has played out so far, but he's looking to change the script and stay healthy, starting with his 2005 season. If he can, there's a chance that Phillies fans could be the ones reaping the rewards of his new found health.

Terry Jones has always drawn attention. As a little league player, his coach invited a scout to watch him play and the scout came away impressed. In high school, Jones continued to impress. When the Phillies drafted him in the fourth round of the 2001 Draft - one round ahead of Ryan Howard - Jones had a decision to make; The Phillies or the University of California. The Phillies scraped together the signing bonus that Jones wanted and he started his professional career.

In his first two seasons of professional ball, Jones was showing the usual adjustment pains. While playing in the Gulf Coast League and at Batavia, Jones was able to hit just one homerun and drive in 20 runs. His overall average for the first two seasons dipped to .218 and he missed a month of the 2002 season with a left foot fracture. When he got the chance to play at Lakewood in 2003, Jones improved and hit 11 homeruns - still shy of what the Phillies had projected originally - and hit .240 with 111 strikeouts.

No less than Baseball America ranked Jones the tenth best prospect in the Phillies organization after he led Lakewood in RBI (66) in 2003, hitting .240 with 11 homeruns. Unfortunately, his foot fracture led to other problems and Jones would miss most of the 2004 season while rehabbing. When he did return, the progress was slow and he's now at a crossroads in his career.

2001 Gulf Coast League 36 3 0 4 2 5 .194 .250
2002 Batavia 157 13 1 16 12 40 .223 .297
2003 Lakewood 454 57 11 66 43 111 .240 .306
2004 Gulf Coast League 2 1 1 1 0 0 .500 .500
2004 Clearwater 147 14 4 21 18 30 .204 .300
Career 796 88 17 108 75 186 .229 .301

Batting and Power: Jones was projected to put up much higher numbers in both categories. Adjusting to a wood bat took some time and his foot injury has set him back as well. There is still hope that he can develop more power. After all, he was moved from shortstop to third base primarily because of his power potential.

Baserunning and Speed: Jones isn't going to set any land speed records. He's got average speed, but has actually been slower than he was thanks to his foot injury. His instincts on the bases are average as well, but he's not the kind of player that hurts you on the basepaths.

Defense: Jones is athletic enough to play well at third base. He lacked some range at shortstop, but can handle the hot corner adequately. He has good hands and makes all the plays that he's supposed to make.

Projection: So far, Jones has lacked the power needed to really develop. Some scouts still believe that he can develop into a middle of the order type of hitter, but he will need to show that and show it soon.

ETA: The Phillies initially hoped that Jones would be challenging for a spot when David Bell's contract runs out after the 2006 season. He'll need to put up very impressive numbers if he's going to make that goal. It's more likely that he would be looking at hitting the majors in 2008. After all, he missed  a lot of time and has underachieved when he has played.

Comparison: While their positions are different, Jones compares to Mike Lieberthal as a hitter. Originally, he might have been compared more to the likes of Pat Burrell, but he hasn't come anywhere near those comparisons.

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