The Pirates announced today that INF JaCoby Jones has been assigned to Double-A Altoona. Jones hit .253 with a .708 OPS at Bradenton. He is currently ranked as the 18th best prospect in the system.

Jones has been an everyday shortstop for the past two seasons in both Bradenton and West Virginia. According to the Curve, Jones will debut for the team tonight, batting sixth and playing shortstop.

To make room in Altoona, LHP Josh Smith was placed on the 7-day disabled list. – Sean McCool

The timing of this move seems off because Jones has not been good lately. He is hitting .200 in his last ten games, with 13 strikeouts. The strikeouts, along with a low walk rate, have been an issue the last two seasons, but last year he put up an .851 OPS. This season, his OPS in .708 and he has 113 strikeouts and 31 walks in 379 at-bats. He has been getting praise for improved defense, but with a .253/.313/.396 slash line this season, it doesn’t seem like he has earned a promotion.

It could mean that someone from Altoona’s middle infield is moving up or out. Adam Frazier and Max Moroff have been splitting shortstop and both are hitting well, plus they are better defenders at this point. Dan Gamache has seen time at second base when Moroff plays elsewhere. The move is a bit surprising, but Jones is already 23 years old, so he’s a good age to be at AA, which is where I’d expect him to be next year. – John Dreker

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57 COMMENTS

  1. Frazier, Moroff, and Gamache should have been promoted already. I actually think that Frazier could have skipped AAA and proceeded to the Pirates bench. He has the eye at the plate and picks his hops well as a defender.

    • Frazier has 200 at bats in AA, skipping AAA would seem pretty crazy. It’d be saying the team thinks his great year in AA means he’d have no major issues facing ML arms.

      For a guy with no power, any issues with jumping 2 big levels might make him suck in the majors.

      • Why would it seem crazy? Other teams try it. Just ask Nathan Adcock, McCullers and Velasquez of the Astros, Christian Yelich, Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, and Jake Marisnick of the Marlins or even Michael Conforto who just collected 4 hits this past week for the Mets. If it doesn’t work, he has a taste of the bigs and will try harder to get back up. Is fielding is solid, so I don’t see an issue there. Also, when was the last time power was the sole reason why someone should be called up. Tell that to Dee Gordon, Gerardo Parra, DJ LeMahieu, and Yunel Escobar, or Billy Hamilton.

  2. Could this just be a “domino effect” of Pedro Florimon staying in the majors, so one of the AA Shortstops will go up to replace him so Jacoby Jones goes up to AA to replace that guy?

  3. They may feel like Jones needs to be challenged by AA in order to regain his focus at the plate.

  4. Frazier would probably go up to AAA as Floriman is AAAA depth and can play SS; could be Gamache’s time too but at 1B

  5. Nothing too odd from the lineups so far…Hanson is in the lineup in AAA, Moroff is at 2B in AA with Frazier playing CF.

    • The return was a Single A pitcher ranked 21st in their system . The question is with all the pitching why could the Pirates have not matched it? It seems that at the deadline the front office does not want to move players but also seem slow on the trigger to promote players to the majors and we end up with the Caminero’s, Florimon’s and Morel’s. Use them as either trade chips or promote someone.

      • In the case of Clippard, his periphs show a guy really getting luck/fortune/neat results from pitching not great. Teams may not have bought into his pure ERA and seen a guy that isnt all that likely to be a clear upgrade. Teams often have far more advanced methods of evaluating to begin with.

        It would seem the lack of return might suggest multiple teams arent as enamored as fans are.

    • I was a little concerned about Clippard’s peripherals, but he’s a solid arm and at, again, a relatively good price. Sorry to see us pass up on him at that price.

  6. Frazier needs to get to AAA – he has nothing left to prove at AA. I have a soft spot for Jones – got to see a lot of him at Pirate City the last two years – he did well while I was there – maybe I should move to Altoona 🙂

    • Frazier has 200 at bats in AA, so nothing left to prove seems shortsighted. They promoted him to AA with non amazing numbers, so it suggests they have different evaluations than just pure numbers for players.

      • disagree Luke- He’s a college kid, there is no reason for him to stay in a place where he is dominating when there is trash in AAA

        • they are going to open up a spot for Jones, and I don’t think it’s going to be because of a Moroff or Hanson trade…..but i could be wrong

        • Fair enough, but i dont think stats go into the process nearly as much as fans assume it does. Fans look at stats and judge a player, i think the FO looks at everything but stats and then decides how ready he is.

          They gotta open something up, but i dont think Frazier is the only option for promotion.

      • Me neither. Although, I have a soft spot for him considering I live in Delaware and work in Philly and watch a good bit of Phillies games. I’m more worried about the pitching than the offense.

  7. Just another example of the BS spewed by front offices across the land suggesting a player need only be promoted when he crosses all the Ts and does all the Is. Jones has done very little to earn a promotion yet here he is. Players like Glasnow stay where they are because thats where the management wants them. In my opinion it has very little to do with mastering the level there at. I am not suggesting any of this is wrong I am only suggesting that when GMs speak rarely does an honest answer come out.

    • They might have done it to fill a spot. This is trade deadline time and Max Moroff or Frazier could get promoted or traded. Besides Bradenton isn’t an easy place to hit and it can be frustrating sometimes. A change of scenery can be beneficial.

    • Why do some fans want the GM speaking openly about their process of evaluating and promoting their talent? I hope the GM isnt telling me everything, please tell me my GM knows more than me and keeps things close to the vest.

      • All I am saying is that ALL GMs like to say one thing and then do something completely different. Its part of the game. I only suggest not to listen to closely to our GM or any GM especially this time of year. They only say what they want us and their fellow GMs to hear. It has nothing to do with the truth.

    • I like Jones, but he and Glasnow are two entirely different types of prospects. Ensuring a potential young, top of the rotation starter has grasped everything he needs to before facing tougher competition isn’t a bad thing.

      As well, promoting a guy who doesn’t have that ceiling just to see what he can do at the next level isn’t, either. Heck, as far as Altoona infielders are concerned, he’s older than Bell, Moroff, Osuna, and Wood. Perhaps it’s time to see if he will …….or get off the pot.

    • Exactly…..should be a fun evening with Buccos off tonight. Following all the rumors and rooting for the Reds.

    • Except that this really does not make a ton of sense…the Curve have middle infielders and Jones has struggled lately.

      • i continue to see PGH not caring about only numbers as reason for promotion. I think age relatively to the league matters and a ton of evaluation fans dont see matters a ton. I’ve seen them promote guys having average to bad seasons plenty. Heck, Moroff was promoted after a so so season.

        I think a ton beyond stats goes into how PGH decides when its time to promote. The Curve IF situation makes this puzzling, but ill wait until everything falls into place to figure out whats going on. Indy certainly could upgrade from its list of random over the hill guys without pause.

    • I am not so sure Moroff doesn’t end up being a better player/prospect then Hanson. I would not be all surprised if the Bucs moved Hanson. I will admit to never seeing either of them play in person but I look at Moroff and I see a player who has much better plate patients, a player who is improving as he moves up the system. A player by all accounts is extremely driven. A player who has also hit way better then Hanson at AA.

      • Bit early for that, since we are saying all that off basically one great offensive season. Not to insinuate that he wont continue, but this is the first time since rookie ball he’s put up plus offensive numbers. This is Hanson’s 3rd year of quality offensive numbers.

        If anything, its a reason to trade Moroff. Capitalize on his big year, keep 1 quality (and to this point a bit more proven offensively) middle IFer, and you dont lose much at all age wise between the two. Everything Moroff has done is great, but repeating that year to year is what will get him to shoot up beyond Hanson.

        • Your probably correct in regards to Morroff only doing it one season but Hanson could fetch a lot more then Moroff by most accounts. I look at Hanson I see a guy who appears to be topping out at 280 at higher minor levels with a 328OBP. I am not sure that is that great. I would have expected some improvement or at least some similarities to his numbers in West Virginia somewhere a long the line but that has not been the case. He doesn’t appear to be that great of a base stealer and he has never been known for his defense though I would assume he is much better at 2B then he was at short.

          • He’s averaging like 25-30 SBs a season. He’s got the profile of a decent leadoff man, .280 type hitter with enough OBP to let his speed play from the top. That’s likely attractive to PGH, solve the 2B issue coming up if Walker leaves with a leadoff man type with decent speed and do it possibly next year.

            • Correct, all other things being equal, I would think they would keep Hanson over Moroff due to Walker’s situation and Hanson’s proximity to majors.

      • I dunno… Hanson is only 7 months older than Moroff and a full level ahead and has a much longer track record. Although Moroff does have better stats at the AA level than Hanson did.

      • I would guess you’re feeling this way because Hanson had his breakout year what seems like a long time ago and Moroff is breaking out this year. Consider this:
        Moroff: career .721 OPS, best season .800 OPS (AA), age 22
        Hanson: career .797 OPS, best season .909 OPS (A), age 22

        Hanson is a level higher, same age, has better career numbers overall and is the better overall athlete. Again, I would think that you’re feeling this way mainly because Hanson “broke out” back in 2012.

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