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Terry Jones was drafted by the Phillies and instantly given the title of
Third Baseman of the Future. It may have been unfair and certainly had to be
pretty daunting for a high school kid to be given such a moniker, but Jones had
enough talent to deserve such a label. In fact, he still has enough talent that
even if he doesn't figure to be the Phillies third baseman of the future, he
could still carve out a nice career for himself. All he needs to do is stay
Jones has played just 45 games over the last two seasons and just 217 games
over the last four seasons. The only year that he was completely healthy was
2003 and he put up sub-par numbers, partly because while he was technically
healthy enough to play, he wasn't 100% and was hampered by the remnants of a
foot injury that he suffered during the 2002 season.
When spring training arrives, Jones should be completely healthy, although
there are rumors of lingering problems. You also have to be concerned about how
he'll deal with repeated health problems that have hurt his career so much. Keep
in mind that Jones will first turn 23 in March, so if he is able to stay healthy
and produce at even a basic level in 2006, he could rebound enough to be
considered a success and have a better than average shot at playing in the
|YEAR / TEAM
|'05 Injured - DNP
Acquired: Drafted in the fourth round of the 2001 Draft out of Upland
High School in Upland, California.
Batting and Power: Jones hasn't shown any of the power or ability to
hit for average that the Phillies expected to see. Granted, a lot of that has to
do with injuries and playing hurt, but they will need to see some signs of life
from Jones in the near future. One of the reasons that the Phillies had for
moving Jones from shortstop to third base was because of his offensive
capabilities, which haven't materialized.
Baserunning and Speed: While Jones has (or had) some speed, his
biggest injury problem has been with his foot and ankle. It remains to be seen
how much speed he'll have when he returns to playing, but don't figure on it
being a big part of his game.
Defense: While his offense was one reason why Jones was moved from the
shortstop position, defense was another. He lacked the range to play at short
and was better suited for playing at third. Jones is adequate at third base, but
tends to lose concentration from time to time and blow seemingly easy plays. His
arm is strong and he certainly has enough of an arm to play third base. It will
be interesting to see if the Phillies experiment with Jones at other positions,
to try to ward off any further injuries and also to make him more versatile and
therefore, more valuable.
Projection: If Jones is healthy, it's going to be a tough decision on
where to start him. There are a number of potential scenarios. They could keep
him in extended camp to make sure he's healthy and get a better evaluation on
where he's at as far as where he should be assigned. He could also be challenged
with a start at Clearwater, which would keep him close to the Phillies minor
league complex and allow the Phillies to keep a better eye on him or, they could
just send him to Lakewood. A lot will depend on what the Phillies see from Jones
in camp as to where he'll be assigned.
ETA: It's going to be a long, slow climb for Jones. Right now, he
doesn't figure to be much of a factor at the major league level until at least
late in the 2008 season and possibly later. The fact of how few games Jones has
played means that he's probably going to need some time just to get back into
the groove of hitting a baseball and playing everyday. That alone could possibly
cost him an entire season as a readjustment period. After that, he probably
won't skyrocket up the ranks and will move pretty slowly, but since he's fairly
young, he could still get himself in a good spot.
Comparison: It's hard to tell what kind of player will emerge from the
injury problems and the time away from the game. Originally, the Phillies
thought Jones would be a hitter in the mold of Pat Burrell, but those hopes have
faded. Now, they would be happy for him to develop into the kind of player that
David Bell was earlier in his career, but possibly being able to play a couple
different positions and with any luck, having more power.