On Tuesday, 26-year old OF-Brandon Jones was designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves to make room for Eric Hinske. Now that he is fresh on the market, does he fit into the present or future of the Kansas City Royals? Let’s take a look to find out.
OF-Brandon Jones was selected in the 24th round of the 2003 draft by Atlanta and signed him as a draft and follow. Not only does he likely interest Dayton because of the Atlanta ties, but Jones was also the 6th round pick of the Royals in the 2002 draft. Instead of joining the Kansas City organization, he opted for community college.
Jones was ranked as Atlanta’s 7th best prospect in 2006, and moved up to the 4th spot for 2007. Baseball America had this to say about him in the 2007 prospect handbook:
He makes hard contact and drives the ball into the gaps with his quick, line-drive swing. Jones possesses above-average wheels and could become a solid power-speed threat at the major league level. His plus range and strong arm enable him to play anywhere in the outfield.
In addition to the above, he was regarded as the best athlete in the Braves system heading into 2007 and then went on to hit 0.295/.367/.490 with 19 HR, 17 SB, 61 BB, and 120 SO between Double-A and Triple-A. It was enough to earn him 19 at bats in a late season call up. While making his major league debut, he hit 0.158/.190/.211. In 2008 he hit 0.260/.343/.405 with 8 HR and 9 SB in 346 Triple-A at bats before getting 116 at bats with the Braves. While in Atlanta he hit 0.267/.312/.397 with 7 BB and 28 SO. Then in 2009, he hit 0.308/.471/.308 with 4 BB and 3 SO in 13 at bats with the Braves early in the season and then hit 0.281/.360/.419 in 384 AB.
Capable of playing either corner in the OF, Jones could be a potential solution in RF when Jose Guillen moves on or in LF if David DeJesus is traded. He has more experience in LF having played 288 games there professionally compared to 60 games in RF. He has a -20.2 UZR/150 in the OF but it is in a very small sample size of 45 games and 332.1 innings.
Brandon Jones has now accumulated over 1,000 plate appearances in Triple-A, has improved his BB to SO rate in each season since 2006, and is now at the point where he deserves a long term look in the majors. The Royals should be the team to give him that chance as he is exactly the type of young, talented, upside player that the team should be taking a look at. He has already done more in 148 major league at bats than Mitch Maier has done in 445 and more than Brian Anderson has in 799.