Despite the ongoing struggles with his plate discipline against major league pitching, Tigers’ outfielder JaCoby Jones continues to offer some intrigue with his collection of tools. It can be difficult to remain patient with a young player whose issues with strikeouts and plate discipline generally, have always tamped down optimism about his future. On Saturday, Jones put every one of those tools on display in a matchup against the Cleveland Indians.
In the third inning, Jose Iglesias ripped a ground rule double to left field. JaCoby Jones stepped to the dish with a chance to tie things 1-1 with a base hit. He did the Tigers one better instead. Indians’ starting pitcher Mike Clevinger started Jones off with a 94 mph fastball on the inner edge of the plate, and Jones was having none of it. He turned on the heater and crushed a 104 mph rocket down the left field line and into the seats to give the Tigers the early lead.
The two-run shot was Jones’ 8th longball of the season. The guy has power, speed and incredible defensive ability. Now if he could just take a step with his hitting.
Jones affected the game in several ways on Saturday. Beyond the homer, he made a great hustle play to rob Rajai Davis of a double up the left-centerfield gap. Jones held the speedy Davis to a single, which eventually prevented a run when Jason Kipnis lined a single to right moments later. Jones also got a massive jump on Clevinger in the fifth inning and stole second base with ease after reaching first on a walk to lead off the inning. The Tigers couldn’t plate him, but it was another reminder why the Tigers will be patient with him until better options ripen on the farm. Unfortunately, Jones later left the game with lower back tightness, and is day-to-day.