Monday, March 14, 2005

Position Analysis: Right Field

Many felt that last year would be Jacque Jones' last as a Minnesota Twin. Jason Kubel, widely viewed as the best hitting prospect of any minor league organization, seemed ready for a regular Major League gig, but plans fell apart when he shredded his knee in the fall league. Kubel will not be available until 2006, so Jones was given a one-year extension, and now it appears that 2005 will likely be his last season with the Twins.

Much like his buddy Torii Hunter, Jones is a free swinger. He gets up there and hacks at a lot of bad pitches that are out of the strike zone, and as a result, he strikes out a lot. That said, he has a nice swing and when he connects, he hits the ball hard. He has good power to the opposite field. He put up some nice power numbers last year with 24 home runs and 80 RBI, but also had a career low with only 22 doubles. He is a decent base-stealer, as he has stolen 13 bases in each of the last two years. The difference is that two years ago it was on 14 attempts (meaning he was only caught once) and last year it was on 23 attempts (meaning he was caught ten times).

The Twins could really use a year out Jones like he had in 2002, when he hit .300 with an OPS of .852. We know he's got it in him, but he is going to need to work on becoming more selective at the plate and hitting left-handed pitchers more effectively. See the position analysis for left field for information on backups, as they are essentially the same at this position.