Pittsburgh Pirates 2021: Three Young Prospects to Watch This Season

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: A general view of the field in the fifth inning during the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 6, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: A general view of the field in the fifth inning during the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 6, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 20: A New Era pillbox Pittsburgh Pirates baseball hat is seen in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 20, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Pitcher Jared Jones

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Jared Jones with their second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Jones was a high school level pick, coming out of La Mirada High School in California. Jones will turn 20 in August and was drafted at 18-years-old.

Jones has a strong three-pitch mix. He has a fastball which could be an elite-level offering shortly. His four-seam fastball comes in the upper-90s, around 96-97 MPH with some tail. However, he topped out at 99 MPH. Both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline see this as a 60-grade offering.

His breaking pitch is a slider, which he throws at two different speeds with different break. His mid-70s slider is more of a slurve, but his low-80s slider is a version with much harder and sharper break. Overall, he’s seen to have a 55-grade slider by Pipeline, while FanGraphs sees it as a 60-grade offering. His final offering is a changeup. Although it’s not his go-to pitch, it’s a third offering that he can throw to an average degree. FanGraphs also grades out a curveball for Jones, however, this grade may be for his slurve-like offering.

Jones is still fairly young. It would be fun to see him be able to differentiate his hard slider and slurve into a slider and curveball, but he first needs to work on his ability to command his offerings and control the strike zone. His MLB Pipeline states that his command, at best, is inconsistent. His control only has a 40-grade on MLB Pipeline, meanwhile, his command on FanGraphs is seen as a 35-grade tool.

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If Jones can get over his mild control issue you’re looking at an extremely talented pitcher. Jones has ace-like stuff. A right-handed starter who throws in the upper-90s, while having a well above-average slider, and will occasionally throw a slurve and changeup, gives him an ace’s arsenal. It’ll just depend if he can refine it to truly weaponize it.

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