One of the more under-the-radar moves by the Yankees this winter was the acquisition of Garrett Jones, who came over in the trade with the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi. Jones is likely to be used as a platoon bat (81 percent of his career plate appearances have come against right-handed pitching), but he still could end up being one of the more valuable Yankees even in his role as backup first baseman/outfielder.
It's no secret that the Yankees have been starved for power over the last two seasons. Since 2013, they rank 11th in the AL in homers and second-to-last in slugging percentage; only the Royals have hit fewer extra-base hits.
Garrett Jones has a chance to really help the Yankees reverse that trend in 2015.
In fact, there might not be a more perfect fit for Yankee Stadium than the left-handed Jones, who's potential as an above-average power bat is largely untapped after spending his entire career in pitcher-friendly parks.
After a cup of coffee with the Twins in 2007, Jones spent the first five seasons of his major-league career with the Pirates, before a one-year stint with the Marlins in 2014. Simply by moving up the east coast from Miami to the Bronx should give a nice boost to Jones' power numbers.
Jones posted better-than-league-average marks in both isolated slugging (.165) and home run rate (3.0 percent of at-bats) last season despite playing his home games at Marlins Park, which had the lowest home run park factor for lefty batters (per Statcorner.com). On the other hand, Yankee Stadium boasted the second-highest home run park factor for lefties in 2014.
Jones should easily be able to take advantage of Yankee Stadium's favorable dimensions, and there is a good chance he'll see his homer totals and slugging rate increase this year, even as a backup.
A quick look at Jones' spray chart from 2014 shows just how much the former Marlin might enjoy playing in the Bronx.
Last season, 48 percent of his hits went to right field, the 15th-highest mark among lefties. And as you can see, 14 of his 15 homers (red dots) went to center or right field, while more than half of his doubles (green dots) were pulled. That's not a one-season fluke, either. Only 10 of his 117 career homers have been opposite-field shots to left.
Furthermore, there is little question that Jones' power to right field is legit. Thirty-one percent of the balls that he pulled last season were categorized as "hard-hit," according to Inside Edge video review, a top-10 mark among all lefties in 2014.
Jones also already has a knack for aiming at the farthest reaches of right field, where the short right porch at Yankee Stadium famously beckons. Since 2012, 34 of his 57 homers (60 percent) have been hit to "far" right field. For reference, his 57 total homers in that span rank 53rd in the league, but his 34 "far right" homers rank 13th!
So you think he's got that nice pull-happy lefty swing needed to succeed in New York? If I were a betting man (or woman), I'd say yes.