Mitch Jones was signed to a minor league deal by the Braves on Thursday. Despite being 32 years old Jones got his first taste of the big leagues last season when he went 4-for-13 in 8 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers acting primarily as a pinch hitter.
Jones spent the rest of the 2009 campaign as a part of the Dodgers Triple-A club where he hit a minor league leading 35 home runs and finished with a .297/.364/.651 line.
It wasn’t the first time Jones had mashed the ball at the minor league level. In the past three seasons as a member of the Dodgers farm system he compiled OPS’ of 1.099, .942, and 1.015 while hitting 70 homers or roughly a homer every 11 at-bats. Before joining the Dodgers in 2007 Jones was a member of the New York Yankees farm system. With the Yankees Jones’ compiled strong minor league numbers but was unable to crack the big leagues.
Jones however has been bothered by high strike out totals in fact he’s struck out 29.6% of his official at-bats at the minor league level.
The Braves however aren’t looking at Jones as an outfielder. They are looking for Jones to be a pinch hitter. Considering the struggles the team had at the position last season, most notably with Greg Norton, and the potential for Jones has to get a hold of a pitch or two he could prove to be of value to the club.
Jones isn’t made of the same stuff as Julio Franco or Keith Lockhart, batters whose days have long went by. However if he can make me forget the days of Greg Norton last season I’m on board.