The Dunedin Blue Jays welcomed power hitter and infielder Bradley Jones to the Florida State League on June 3rd
For weeks there’s been speculation over which of the Lansing Lugnuts three young sluggers would be the first to be plucked from the Lugnuts potent lineup.
The production from Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and Bradley Jones have been the driving force behind the Lugnuts offense. An offense that’s pushed Lansing to a 30-24 record and a 4th place standing in the Midwest.
On June 3rd one of the three promising sluggers finally received word their time with Lansing had come to an end. One of the three would be heading to the Florida State League.
It wasn’t Bichette, who leads the Midwest League with a .385 batting average, 70 hits, 43 runs scored, and 113 total bases.
It wasn’t Guerrero, arguably the Blue Jays most intriguing offensive prospect in about a decade. Vladdy has more walks (26) than strikeouts (24) and owns a .331 batting average. Unfortunately, he’s struggled to hit home runs in May, hitting his last home run on May 3rd.
It was Bradley Jones, Lansing’s leader with 9 home runs, who received the honor of being the first member of the 2017 Lugnuts to move up a level.
Jones batted .372 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 6 HR and 23 RBI in the first month the season (April). He followed up a strong April with a May that saw him bat .278 with 6 doubles, a triple, 3 HR, and 15 RBI.
In 2016 Jones split his time between 1st (35 GP), 3rd (16 GP), and DH (10 GP) while leading the Appalachian League with 16 HR. The 21-yr-old infielder continues to show his versatility in 2017 seeing time at 1st (8 GP), 2nd (20 GP), and 3rd (13 GP).
In his D-Jays debut, Jones collected his first FSL hit in his first FSL at-bat. He played DH, batted 4th and struck out 3 times as the D-Jays were downed 4-2 by the Dayton Dragons.
Jones played better in his second game, going 1-for-4 with a strikeout and 2 walks. He played 3rd and batted 3rd as the Dragons got the better of the D-Jays again by a score of 6-5.
Two games into his FSL career, it is clear that Jones will look to drive in runs and to bat in the heart of the order. With Cavan Biggio as the D-Jays everyday 2nd baseman, it looks like Bradley Jones see most of his playing time at 3rd and DH. He may also spell Juan Kelly at 1st from time to time.
Jones will strike a lot; therefore, the HR will need to keep coming to justify a 25+ K%. The power is real. You don’t hit 25 home runs in 112 minor league games by accident. Unfortunately, the FSL is not a home run a friendly league.
This would be a good league for Jones to tinker with his swing. Cut down the strikeouts to something below 20% and concentrate on driving the ball, rather than hitting the long ball.
Bradley Jones wasn’t alone in heading to Dunedin. RP Zach Jackson (1-0, 3.15 ERA 8 BB/25 K), and RP Jackson McClelland (1-2, 1.80 ERA 10 BB/17 K, and 8 SV) will also be heading to FSL for the first time.
McClelland will compete with Danny Young for the D-Jays closer. Young took over for Andrew Case when he was promoted to New Hampshire May 15th. Young has converted 4-for-5 saves.
Zach Jackson struggled with his control in his D-Jays debut, walking 3 batters. He got the first batter he faced to fly out, walked the next two, got the 4th batter to fly out to right field, before being lifted after walking his third batter. With the bases loaded, Kender Villegas got the only batter he faced to pop out to third to end the threat. Jackson should continue to see late inning/setup work.
*Featured Image Mandatory Credit: C.Stem JFtC
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