Garrett Jones was drafted by the Atlanta Braves with the last pick of the 14th round in 1999 as a first baseman out of Victor J Andrew High School in Illinois. Jones failed to do much of anything at all in three years at Rookie ball and was dropped by the Braves in 2002. A mere three days later he was picked up by the Twins and sent to A ball where he proceeded to post a .610 OPS in the Midwest League. Despite that, Minnesota advanced him to High-A the following year, 2003, and then to Double A in 2004 despite still posting sub 700 OPSs.
Something clicked in Double A though and in 122 games in New Britain, Jones flipped out to hit .311/.356/.593 with 30 bombs. The year literally came out of nowhere as his previous high was a .756 OPS he posted in his third season in Rookie ball. 2005 saw Jones moved up a level for the fourth consecutive year, to Rochester. Jones backslid there to a .741 OPS. For the next three years, through last season, Jones would remain starting in Triple-A, posting .733, .807 and .821 OPSs.
A Minor League free agent this winter, Jones signed with Pittsburgh and resumed his Triple-A career in Indianapolis. He continued his modest gains, hitting .307/.348/.502 until getting the call up to Pittsburgh on July 1st with the trade of Nyjer Morgan to Washington.
Given his first regular taste of starting in the big leagues, Jones has certainly seized the opportunity. To be clear, Jones is DH-material in the field, but right now his bat is doing all the talking. In 19 games so far, and 84 trips to the plate, Jones has 26 hits, a whopping 17 for extra bases including 10 of them for home runs. His seven walks to 12 strikeouts represent a career best BB/K ratio too. Jones’ current line stands at .342/.398/.842!
He is certainly not going to keep this up, but it is an really interesting story for a guy who spent three years being unable to hit his way out of Rookie Ball and four years being unable to hit his way out of Triple-A.
Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.