Red Sox Prospect No. 47: Mike Jones

Editor's Note: Diehard Magazine is in the midst of its third annual countdown of the top 50 prospects in the Red Sox chain today. Subscribe to our print magazine in order to learn even more on the top 50! Today: The countdown continues with the no. 47 prospect, first baseman Mike Jones.

(Editor's Note, part II: Some of these profiles will appear out of order over the next few days as we finish the magazine. We assure you every number will be represented and that we'll be back to a traditional countdown soon!)


Mike Jones made impressive strides with his plate judgment last season at short-season Single-A Lowell and Single-A Greenville. But did those improvements come at the expense of the raw power that looked as if it would be his calling card?

Jones drew 38 walks and struck out 48 times in 236 at-bats last year—not quite Jeff Natale-esque, but a dramatic change from 2006, when he walked 10 times and whiffed 34 times between the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and Lowell.

Dramatic, too, was the decrease in power experienced by Jones. He had 22 extra-base hits in 169 at-bats in 2006, including nine homers and nine doubles in just 122 at-bats in the GCL. But last year, he had only 16 extra-base hits, including only two homers in 162 at-bats at Lowell. And in 285 at-bats post-GCL at-bats, Jones has just three homers.

Such a trend isn't encouraging for someone who was signed for his power potential as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona Western College in 2005. Jones has proven to be a productive hitter—his .320 average last year lifted his lifetime mark to .309—but he's in danger of turning into another Natale: Someone who can handle the bat but doesn't excel in any other area.

Defense remains problematic for Jones, who made all 45 of his appearances at Lowell at first base and was charged with seven errors. He made 10 starts at first base and 12 starts at designated hitter for Greenville following his promotion to the Drive Aug. 10. With first basemen Lars Anderson and Jon Still now in Lancaster, Jones should get the lion's share of starts at first this year.

At 23, Jones is young enough to open some eyes, and the former high school basketball star is still raw. But he'll need to rediscover his extra-base ability—as well as continue to improve at first base—in order to keep moving up in a system suddenly teeming with productive corner infielders.


Previous prospects ranked No. 47:
2007: Mike Jones, 1B
2006: Mickey Hall, OF (unranked in 2007)


DIEHARD 2008 TOP 50 PROSPECTS
50.) Travis Beazley, P
49.) Beau Vaughan, P
48.) Ty Weeden, C
47.) Mike Jones, 1B
46.) Tommy Hottovy, P
45.) Chad Spann, 3B
44.)
43.) Chad Rhoades, P
42.) Mike James, P
41.) Jay Johnson, OF
40.) Jeff Natale, IF
39.) George Kottaras, C
38.) Bryce Cox, P
37.) Daniel Haigwood, P
36.)
35.) Edgar Martinez, P
34.) Andrew Pinckney, 3B
33.) Dusty Brown, C
32.) Jason Place, OF
31.) Jeff Corsaletti, OF
30.) Argenis Diaz, SS
29.) Daniel Bard, P
28.) Brock Huntzinger, P
27.) Adam Mills, P


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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