Padres Prospect Scouting Report: Duanel Jones, 3BPosted by in AZL Padres | Eugene Emeralds | Scouting Reports
Name: Duanel Jones
Report Date: 2011 NWL Season (Rookie Level)
Birthplace: Samana, DO
Overview: Duanel Jones is a big-bodied athlete who starts off like every good steak, extremely raw. There is a huge gap in the player Jones is now and the player he may one day become. Currently he is playing third base but it is highly likely that a move to first base or an outfield corner is in his future.
Physical Attributes: Jones is one big athlete. He has very long arms, a wider-than-average build and big legs. He is by no means fat. If Jones wants to stay at a position with a defensive component he needs to keep from gaining any amount of weight. If he moves to first base he could easily put on 15-20 lbs and not be any worse for it. He has a great arm and great bat speed. His arm is so good that it has allowed him to stay at third despite limited range. His swing is very raw but his bat speed has given the Padres something to dream on.
Hitting: Jones hits from an open, upright stance with some bend in his knees and low hands. He uses a double tap approach. Meaning he brings his foot towards his body on the load, taps, and then strides. He slots his hands well on his load. Because there is so much movement in this style of loading, Jones often has an inconsistent pace with his swing. Sometimes he looks slow and relaxed and other times he has to rush to get everything lined up for his swing. Jones also turns his front shoulder in during his load more than you would like to see. It creates a situation where his shoulders aren’t directly lined up with the pitcher and instead are lined up somewhere between the pitcher and first base. The problem with this movement is it has a tendency to make hitters really uncoil on their swing leading to their front shoulder flying open which is exactly what Jones does.
When the swing gets going the bat speed is undeniable. There is a lot of effort in generating this bat speed so it tends not be pretty when Jones swings and misses. He often ends up off balance following his vicious swing. He has a good plane through the zone with some lift but doesn’t extend as well as his body would allow him too. His lower half fires very aggressively but does so in a very rotational fashion. Combine this with his less than ideal extension and you can imagine why Jones has trouble with pitches on the outer third of the plate.
At this point Jones is basically a pull side hitter. On pitches away, particularly off-speed offerings, Jones will simply beat the ball into the ground to the left side. Once he finds some balance in his swing, irons out his load and generates some extension Jones will begin to hit for a better average. He will never be a player who grades out very highly on his hit tool but there is still plenty of room for improvement from his current state. Current – 30 | Future – 45
Power: With Jones body, bat speed and strength it is easy to see why he grades out very high on raw power. When everything lines up in his swing it is pretty to watch. He generates power from his legs, through his torso, and then finishes with his strong wrists. Jones will one day be putting balls into the second deck of any major league park provided he makes the necessary mechanical adjustments. His raw power is very high but he has yet to actualize it in any real game setting. This is the biggest question mark in terms of Jones’ development. Will he ever be able to make the transition from a 5 o’clock all star (a player who puts on a show in BP) to a hitter who can drive pitches in games? He is very young so he has a very long time to make this adjustment but don’t expect him to make that transition overnight. Patience will be the key in watching Jones’ career. Current – 60 | Future – 65
Speed: For as athletic as Jones looks he is surprisingly slow. He is very heavy footed both on the base paths and in the field which makes him very slow getting out of the box. This is one factor that may force Jones to move away from third base, as there is not a whole lot of room for positive growth in terms of speed. His range could one day be so hampered by his slow feet that a move to first may be necessitated. Interestingly enough he is not a liability once on base. Jones gets very good jumps, especially on balls in the dirt. He has an innate ability to read the ball early enough out of the pitchers hand to get an excellent jump and wind up with a stolen base. Jones even excels in advanced baseball skills such as sliding, which is very surprising given his big body and slow feet. On close plays he is able to slide away from the tag and hook his long arms around the base. Current – 35 | Future – 35
Fielding: Jones looks very stiff in the infield particularly when waiting for ground balls. He doesn’t have tremendous range but does possess good reactions. He has made several diving plays at third base stemming from his quick reaction time. Jones is very slow in going to ground balls in any direction. When he does have to range for a ground ball he will often get to that spot and then wait for the ball to get to him. Not only does this look awkward but it also gives the base runner precious extra time. He receives ground balls very well keeping his body low and using his hands well when fielding. Jones is slow at getting the ball out of his glove and often relies on his plus arm to bail him out. When he fields balls on the run he is rarely quick to get rid of them. He will field the ball and then take several steps before firing. It is difficult to see Jones holding down a spot at third base as he progresses through the system. Current – 40 | Future – 50
Arm: While his raw power might be more impressive, in game situations his arm is what tends to grab people’s attention. He is somewhat deliberate with his arm but has good actions for his position. When Jones releases the ball it’s a blur – easy plus if not a plus–plus, tool. He never looks rushed making throws and knows the ball is going to explode out of his hand. Jones is very accurate with his arm too. He can get a little loose and have the ball sail up out his hand but nothing to an extreme degree. His arm and young age are what has prevented a move to first. It would be such a waste at this point to have Jones at a position where arm strength tends not to matter. Current – 65 | Future – 65
Conclusion: Jones is so young, so raw and in possession of two big tools so it’s easy to see why the Padres are excited about the young man. He is going to need a good amount of time down on the farm just to adapt to quality pitching and make the necessary adjustments to his swing. Even though he is playing third now, Jones’ future probably resides at first base.
Ceiling: A power hitting first baseman who racks up massive amounts of strikeouts with impressive power numbers. He has the potential to be a legitimate 4-hole hitter in most major league line-ups.
Likely Outcome: Given his body and the nature of Jones’ game it could be a while before he reaches the majors, if at all. Going back to the opening steak metaphor, don’t be surprised if Jones needs a ton of seasoning in the minors. His most likely future role is a 5 or 6-hole hitter who isn’t the focal point of a line up but can significantly bolster any team’s offense.
Irresponsible Comparison: A slower Nelson Cruz.
Current: 45 | OFP: 52
AOFP: 54 – An above-average MLB player
Ryan Parker is a contributor to Padres Prospects. Check out his coverage of the Eugene Emeralds at Oregon Baseball Report.