JaCoby Jones. SS West Virginia Power

JaCoby Jones: Breakout Pirates Minor League Talent at West Virginia

JaCoby Jones has played a lot of baseball almost all of it at the highest of levels.  If you read, or watch anything about the small town Mississippi product, you can’t help but smile.  Sure it’s exciting to look at the talent, but just the love for the sport always comes through.  Anyway.  Enough of the projection voice in my head…let’s get to it.  Jones is our pick as a breakout player for the Bradenton Marauders.

Looking at the talent on the West Virginia roster is very exciting–it seems that way each season.  But holy hell–2014 for the Power will be monsterous.  The Pirates have some serious players on this roster.

But boiling it all down, JaCoby Jones is our first pick in the breakout series.  It’s damn hard to only pick four players who will breakout, but here are our thoughts on Jones.  Please leave your picks in the comments.  It’s always fun to look back on these.

JaCoby Jones.  We have some concerns with him at the shortstop position, but the upside is too much to ignore.  It’s not that Jones doesn’t have range or the arm for the positon-he does.  But can he overcome those damn demons in his head?

The challenge has never been the tools for Jones. He has a strong, accurate arm, the 6’3″ Jones is fast (clocked at 4.1 to first base,) has pop off the bat and he is always in great shape.  During his time at LSU he hit well, put up nice OPS and also didn’t hit well and struckout quite a bit.

The passion for the game is something that is always talked about when Jones name comes up in baseball discussions.  Of course, you probably saw him knock himself out.

He bounced back from a terrible season in 2012, to have success when it mattered most…on the big college stage.

Five bombs in 35 Cape Cod league games opened eyes in 2012, but so did the whiffs (55).  Jones won the Cape Cod League HR Derby home run derby and had 12 extra-base hits.

Scouts had him anywhere from the first to the third round.  Fortunately, when the Bucs pick came up in the third round, Jones was waiting.

“We’ll develop the player and the person in combination to find the best fit for him on the field.  We’ll play him in multiple positions here. Most important, develop the person, continue to develop the athlete, and he has a chance to be in the role of a good baseball player.”   Draft day- Pirates director of amateur scouting Joe DelliCarri

Jones was charged with two errors in five games at short for Jamestown.  He played center in the other ten games before he injured his knee in a home plate collision.  Hence, the sample is small, but we will soak it in nonetheless, the bat was solid with an .817 OPS, three walks, fourteen strike outs in the limited 67 plate appearances.

The questions headed into full season for Jones are similar to those of some of the most talented players.  The JaCoby Jones displays of dismay with his own play are stuff of legend.  We aren’t talking about a player that ever gets bored, or seems disinterested in the game.  Jones is all in, all the time.  When struggles occur, and they always do in the game of baseball, can Jones get out of his head?  We say hell yes.

It makes perfect sense for the Pirates to put Jones at shortstop.  ( If you care not to dig into all of the info on Jones you’re crazy, but we understand…so just think of Jordy Mercer coming up through the Pirates system, but we think Jones has higher upside.)  Jones could easily play second base, he also could play center field, but the true value comes by breaking out as a shortstop.

It will be a challenge for a talented player.  The promise has never lived up to the production.  We say that changes this summer.

 

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