Miami Marlins Review: Keeping Up With Thomas Jones

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 29: Billy The Marlin poses while being honored as the Ride of Fame Inducts 1st Miami Honoree Jeff Conine as part of worldwide expansion at Marlins Park on April 29, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Ride of Fame)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 29: Billy The Marlin poses while being honored as the Ride of Fame Inducts 1st Miami Honoree Jeff Conine as part of worldwide expansion at Marlins Park on April 29, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Ride of Fame) /

Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 115 of 286. For the first 100, click here.

Thomas Russell Jones is a 6’4″, 195 lb. outfielder from Laurens, South Carolina. Laurens is also the town of origin for four other former major leaguers, most recently Reggie Williams.

Jones was born on December 9th, 1997. In the 2016 draft, the Miami Marlins chose him in the third round out of Laurens District 55 HS, with the 84th overall pick (three picks in front of fellow Marlins prospect Bryson Brigman). Follow Jones on Twitter @thomasjones08.

The 84th pick of the draft, historically, makes it to the big leagues 33 percent of the time. The most prolific of the 18-player fraternity are Jeremy Guthrie (2001, Pittsburgh Pirates, 17.9 career WAR), Ian Desmond (2004, Montreal Expos, 16.4 WAR), and J.J. Putz (1995, Chicago White Sox, 13.1 WAR).

After his selection, Jones signed with the Miami Marlins for a $1,000,000 bonus. Jones’ was recruited by NCAA Division I colleges for his football prowess, garnering interest from Notre Dame, Clemson, and others before settling (and later de-committing) with Vanderbilt. The Marlins, obviously enamored by Jones raw talent, took a chance with a high pick, knowing it would take a good deal to get him to sign.

"Gatorade’s South Carolina player of the year, Jones is an elite athlete with a projectable frame and the potential for five tools. He has a quick right-handed bat, but a swing that can get long at times and results in too many whiffs. However, scouts expect his hitting aptitude to improve, and for him to develop some power, now that he’s strictly focused on baseball. A plus-plus runner, Jones’ wheels aid him in center field, where he shows good range, but lacks instincts. His arm is strong enough to profile at all three outfield spots. – MLB Pipeline"

After signing, Jones joined the Florida-based, rookie-level GCL Marlins, in the Gulf Coast League. He slashed .234/.380/.312 in 19 games, with six stolen bases in eight tries. He drew 11 walks and struck out 20 times in 80 plate appearances, scoring 11 runs and collecting three doubles and a triple with six RBI. Defensively, Jones played 155 innings in center field, and finished with a .944 fielding percentage.

In 2017, Jones was promoted to the short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League. By then the Marlins number seven organizational prospect, he led the team by playing in 68 games, scoring 31 runs, getting hit by 14 pitches, and hitting four triples. He hit a disappointing .181, with an equally concerning .282 slugging percentage, but his .315 OBP was encouraging. He drew 34 walks and went 43-for-238 in 292 plate appearances. Defensively, Jones played in all three outfield spots, appearing mostly in center field and racking up a combined .969 fielding percentage in 562 innings of work.

2018 would see Jones join the single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League. Jones power, which had been largely MIA since turning professional, reared its head to the tune of nine home runs. It didn’t take long either. In Jones first three games of the year, he hit four home runs for six RBI (he had only hit two through his first two professional seasons).

Jones slashed .222/.277/.343 in a club-second 103 games, with 17 doubles and 33 RBI. He stole a team-high 20 bases in 28 tries, and drew 25 walks over 437 plate appearances. He also struck out 140 times, not quite leading the team, but close to it (Marcos Rivera struck out 142 times).

More from Marlins Prospects

Jones began the season as Miami’s 26th ranked prospect, but has since risen up to number 19 on the list. Jones totaled 19 multi-hit games through the season, including three three-hit games. On May 9th, he hit two singles and a double, scoring a run in a 14-10 loss to the Asheville Tourists. On July 30th, he hit a single, a double, and a home run in a 6-5 victory against the Rome Braves. The Grasshoppers, who were 53-53 at that time, won only seven of their final 30 to finish at 60-76. Defensively, Jones played 92 games in the outfield and made five errors in 160 chances, also making five assists and ending with a .969 fielding percentage.

Jones is currently rostered with the Clinton LumberKings in the single-A Midwest League, where he will start the season. With a little work, he’s due in the Florida State League with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads.

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