Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Jared Jones is on the Rise

The Pittsburgh Pirates second-round pick from 2020 is looking impressive early on in his career.

Last year was Ben Cherington’s first Draft with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  it was expected that he would go college heavy based on his previous Draft Classes while in Toronto.  The 2020 draft was limited to just 5 rounds due to the Pandemic.

Overall, the Pittsburgh Pirates had 6 total picks, with the 7th overall spot, and a Competitive Balance A selection.  The team’s second-round selection would then be the only Prep player of the 2020 Draft class, Jared Jones.  Jones, out of the High School ranks in California and was viewed as a rising prospect.  He showed off impressive velocity and spin rates at a young age which is exactly why Ben Cherington wanted him.

So far, Jones has had a good year at the Pirates’ A-Ball affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders. Through 41 innings, Jones has put up a 3.73 ERA, 3.51 FIP, and 1.39 WHIP. Jones has gotten a ton of strikeouts, posting a 35.4% strikeout rate. He also has been pretty decent at limiting walks, keeping free passes to a 9% rate.

Not bad for a guy who’s already throwing into the upper-90’s. Plus he has a solid HR/9 of .88. Though he hasn’t gotten many ground balls with a 39.5% GB%, an increase to around 43-45% could see his HR/9 drop even further. However, being a young power arm, it is expected for him to give up the long ball from time to time.  Still, it is hard to complain about what he has done so far.

When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Jared Jones, they knew they were getting a right-hander with big stuff. Jones was already in throwing in the mid-90s leading up to the Draft. In his most recent outing, he got his heat up to 98 MPH. Baseball America shared this on their Twitter recently:

Both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline project it as a 60-grade pitch. He also has a slider and change-up, both of which are seen as average or better offerings. FanGraphs also grades out an average curveball given that his breaking ball can have two different speeds with different movements. The fact that Baseball America is already noticing the uptick in his stuff just shows the potential that he possesses.

Jones is definitely a candidate to move up to High-A Greensboro.  It is getting close to that time of the year when teams start to promote prospects, and Jones has shown he is ready for that.  Seeing him take steps forward and being highlighted by major prospect sites is very encouraging. Hopefully, he continues to polish his elite stuff and evolve into the team’s next top-pitching prospect.