With a downright awful 2010, Daryl Jones continues to be one of the more frustrating prospects in St. Louis’ system. What at times has been seen as a toolsy, athletic, above-average corner outfielder, is starting to look like an average fourth who doesn’t have the outfield instincts to stay at center, the arm for right, or the power for left.
Jones, an extremely athletic three-sport athlete in high school, was selected in the third round of the 2005 draft. After struggling to translate his tools to results in his first full two years of pro ball, Jones broke out in 2008, posting a .316/.407/.483 line with Palm Beach, and Springfield.
While he did hold on to a steady 21.5 LD% in 2009, his first full attempt at AA was hampered by a quad strain, and he’s never been the same since. While Jones has never been expected to hit for plus-power with his linear swing, he hasn’t even been capable of posting average power numbers lately, topping a .400 SLG in just one of his past nine months of ball. In ’10, his LD% trailed off to 19.7%. With a .292 BABIP, Jones posted a park-adjusted line of .241/.332/.345.
I had previously thought that if Jones could carry his success from ’08, and the first half of ’09, he could have a legitimate shot at earning a spot with the big league club in the 2011 Spring Training. That appears to be a long-shot now. And while Jones is still just 23-years-old, this stunt in progression is startling, and something to note, in my opinion.
What say you, readers? Is the injury still hampering him? Is it too early to give up on a 23-year-old? Has your projection of his upside been changed considerably with his awful ’10 season?