In reviewing all 316 players to appear in Houston's system in 2022, we’ve reached the 198th.
Taylor Jones is a six-foot-seven, 230 lb. first baseman from Kent, WA. Born on December 6, 1993, he was a 35th-round selection of the Chicago Cubs in 2015. After going unsigned out of Gonzaga, the Astros took him in round 19 of the 2016 draft, with the 577th choice off the board. That’s the same spot as nine other major leaguers, led by Michael Bourn (22.8 WAR) and Howard Johnson (22.2 WAR).
Jones made his professional debut after the draft with the Short-Season-A Tri-City ValleyCats and hit .252 with eight long balls over 70 contests. From 2017 through 2019, Jones played in 353 regular season minor league contests and hit .267 with 47 home runs and 209 RBI, appearing at every level from Low-A up to Triple-A. In 2020, with the minor league season canceled, Jones made his major league debut with Houston and went four-for-21 with a double, a homer, and three RBI in seven games.
In 2021, Jones slashed an all-world line of .331/.425/.584 for the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys, with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 48 games. As an injury replacement with Houston, he hit .245 in 35 games, with two jacks and 16 RBI. He drew four walks and struck out 29 times.
The 2022 campaign would see Jones begin the regular season on the 10-day injured list due to lower back discomfort he noticed in Spring Training. On June 3, he was assigned to Sugar Land and hit .239 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 43 games through the first two months of his season. On July 9, in a 6-5 loss to the El Paso Chihuahuas, Jones came within a triple of the cycle.
On August 1, Jones got into his only major league game of the season, a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Jones pinch hit for Martín Maldonado with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the bases empty, and grounded out, 6-3 on a full count against Tanner Houck.
After rejoining Sugar Land, Jones became reacquainted with his stroke, slashing .296/.421/.504 in 31 games, with five home runs and 18 RBI. He collected multiple hits in 11 of those games and three in four of them. On August 10 against El Paso, he went three-for-four with a homer and three RBI as the Cowboys won, 14-6.
Jones played zero innings in the field at the major league level on the defensive side of the ball. While with the Space Cowboys , he played 305 2⁄3 innings at first base (.996 fielding percentage), 202 2⁄3 innings at third base (.889 fielding percentage), and 77 frames in left field (19 chances, no errors). On September 13, Jones was designated for assignment, and was soon thereafter claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants.
Jones didn’t get back to the majors after joining the National League organization, instead remaining in the Pacific Coast League with their Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats. He went six-for-24 in seven games prior to the end of the season while with them. The Giants outrighted him to the minors on November 9, and granted his free agency a day later.
Jones has some solid raw tools, but at 29-years-old has still not caught on anywhere. He’s plenty good enough to catch a Spring Training invite on a flyer with almost any team.