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Originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the tenth round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Washington, right-handed pitching prospect Spencer Jones has moved quickly through the system, reaching High-A Charlotte in 2017 after spending half the year with Low-A Bowling Green. In 68 innings over 36 relief appearances split between the two levels in 2017, Jones finished 2-4 with five saves, and a 2.25 ERA. He allowed 57 hits and 21 walks against 74 strikeouts and a .223 opponents’ batting average in that span.

After the summer season, the Tampa Bay Rays sent Spencer Jones to the Arizona Fall League to pitch for the Surprise Saguaros, and it’s there that Baseball Census saw him work multiple times in relief. Below, you’ll find our full Spencer Jones scouting report, including tool grades, projection notes, and game video on the Rays prospect.

Spencer Jones Scouting Report, Tampa Bay Rays — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Fastball (55)
Lively fastball; arm-side manipulation with some fade and occasional true, hard sink. Matches up well vs RHH with easy ability to get in on hands. Can get out of whack with too much arm-side run at times; inconsistent command, especially when it takes off away vs LHH. Not much backdoor feel; will flatten out to arm-side with little life. Hittable when left up, but potential for above-average look with velocity and plenty of good depth and life when at the knees. Velocity: 90-93, T 94.

Changeup (40)
Conventional change look with some arm-side fade; as with fastball, plays up considerably when already down in the zone, and will flatten out when left higher than the knees. Inconsistent and lacking considerable life, especially with depth, in most cases. Functions as a show-me pitch with modest effectiveness at times against LHH more so than RHH. Definitely his third-best pitch. Velocity: 82-84, T 85.

Slider (50)
Loves slider and will go to it early, often, and late in count. Go-to pitch when ahead for strikeouts, but also enough feel to throw it for strikes early. Inconsistent at times; will lack hard bite and function more as a slurve, but feel for it to both sides of the plate even with inconsistent break and execution. Has thus far missed a lot of bats with it; I’m not bullish on slider being true wipeout pitch against better hitters, but enough life to grade as average with some potential for consistent effectiveness down the road. Velocity: 76-79, T 80.

Control/Command (45/40)
Below-average feel for both control and command, particularly with ability to pinpoint ball down in the zone and where he wants it with any consistency. Pitch life and effectiveness depends extensively on command in the bottom third of the zone, and he doesn’t show enough nuanced feel there to expect long-term success in a high-leverage role; ample life, but sometimes almost too much to handle. Long arm action and inconsistent mechanics limit command profile, too.

Long, low-three-quarters gun slinger type of arm action; somewhat inconsistent release points, and will drop elbow, which flattens out the ball and risks leaving it up. Strong hand/wrist manipulation for movement, but inconsistent at execution there. Long to the plate; athletic, but struggles to hold and control running game with mechanics and arm action as it is. Some cross body action to his delivery, landing closed and working back across for some deception to RHH.

College guy, should be fairly polished, appears poised enough to move quickly. Really nothing particular of note applies here after seeing two AFL relief outings.

2018 Plan
After moving quickly as a reliever through the low minors, Spencer Jones should find himself in Double-A Montgomery to begin the 2018 season. Relievers can jump consistently if they throw strikes, and so it’s likely Jones will get a look at Triple-A Durham in 2018, too, if he proves he can adjust to hitters in the upper minors well. Unsure about long-term profile in high-leverage long relief, but definite shot to put himself in the conversation by the end of 2018 if things fall into place.

Lower-role set up (7th inning) type of ceiling with lively stuff and some raw arm strength that’ll be aided by better command profile. Execution of all pitches must improve, but Spencer Jones has definite potential here to miss some bats when command is right and living down in the zone. Floor as low-leverage middle reliever who could see multi-inning work in multi-inning roles thanks to effective sinker/slider combo. MLB ETA: 2019.

Spencer Jones Scouting Report — Tampa Bay Rays — 2017 Game Video

In addition to this Spencer Jones scouting report, we have game video for you to watch as a supplement to our notes and observations. You can also find more Tampa Bay Rays prospect videos and thousands of other prospects when you click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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