Spencer Jones has cleared many obstacles, none higher than those in his own head
(Photo Source: New York Yankees) For some, the thought of a 6ft 6in lefty baseball Athletes, the tall guy on the mound, not the batter’s box, comes to mind. Even though the current baseball world has a tall guy like Aaron Judge as one of the top hitters in the league, many people still characterize tall players as pitchers.
But just ask Spencer Jones, a 6’6″ lefty baseball player, and he’ll tell you he Always think of yourself as the hitter first.
When Jones was drafted by the Yankees with a first round pick 2013, a Vanderbilt outfield prospect who could add speed and power to any lineup. But before spending three years in Nashville, Tennessee, and a summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League, Jones was a two-way player who suffered multiple setbacks from injuries on the mound — though he never wanted to. Become a pitcher.
He’s also a player who, early in his career, admits to having a hard time thinking about it, so -year-old’s journey to becoming the Yankees’ No. 3 candidate (according to MLB Pipeline) included a necessary change in mindset to help him find his way back to loving the game of baseball.
Growing up in Southern California and playing youth baseball, Jones was always the biggest kid on the field. When he was 12, who is 6-foot-3 and struggling to throw the ball.
Arm strength is lefty, though, has never been a major focus, as hitting the ball is a skill Jones has put in extra time to perfect. He was known from a young age for the power of his swing. His minor league team has even discussed putting a mesh screen in front of pitchers as he prepares to bat. Pitchers weren’t part of the equation until later.
“Until it was late in high school,” Jones said. “Once I started pitching and getting up to speed, everyone was like, ‘No, you’re a pitcher now,’ and I hated that. I always thought I was a hitter first.”
No matter how well he played; pitching became part of his game, and Jones found himself on the mound regularly during his time at La Costa Canyon High School. By the start of his senior year, he was a highly touted two-way prospect with a top velocity of 112 mph, with the increasing attention, the pressure on high school students themselves is also increasing.
“I’m too focused, How much is my draft stock? ” Jones said. “It eats me up and keeps me from enjoying it.”
All the noise in his head about the draft will end up in his senior year Started the season with a broken elbow — the first of two major arm injuries he suffered on the mound in his amateur career.
to June370 when the Los Angeles Angels used 24 1st round pick Jones, but since he made a move at Vanderbilt even before his first high school game A strong commitment to playing, Jones put off his career and headed to Nashville to play for head coach Tim Corbin.
Frustration from the pitching injury would stay with him, and despite returning to baseball activity, Jones was barely able to pitch. As a result, Corbin didn’t want the talented newcomer sitting on the bench to disturb his psyche, and he found other ways to get Jones involved, whether at first base or as the designated hitter.
“He’s a very athletic kid and you know he can help you out on the pitch,” Corbyn said. “But we can only see a glimpse of what I think will be a great player.”
Any chance of Jones gaining some momentum is cut off04 game into the 325 season when COVID- Ends one year early. Back home, with endless reminiscences and a sense of a skill gap between himself and his Vanderbilt teammates, Jones just wanted some playing time.
So in 370 summer, he returned to the field — and the mound — in the UC League for the Santa Barbara Foresters. Just as he was getting up to speed, another setback hit – a torn UCL.
“I just took that as a sign like, well, enough pitching,” Jones said. “Focus on what you really want to do – be a hitter.”