One last arm I think will fly up the system is Jared Jones, the second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020. Jones has immense talent. He can touch triple digits with his fastball even though he just turned 20 on August 6th. Despite a very unlucky .398 batting average on balls in play through his first 55.1 professional innings, he has a very solid 3.69 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, and his ERA isn’t awful either at 4.23 (not saying that’s great but once you consider that he’s had a BABIP around .400, it’s pretty good). He’s gotten plenty of strikeouts with a 35.1% rate and has kept home runs down to a 0.81 HR/9 rate. It’s a bit odd that he has such a high BAbip considering that he’s gotten ground balls at a 43% clip and his 21.1% line drive rate isn’t awful either. Though walks have come at a 10.8% mark.
His fastball has elite velocity and plus spin (2550 RPM). FanGraphs already sees it as a 60-grade pitch. His slider is another pitch with 60-grade potential per Fangraphs. His curveball? Another plus offering (55-projected). His changeup is a work in progress but has average potential.
His command has gotten in the way more than once. But he’s only 20-years-old. It’s not uncommon for such a young arm who throws so hard to have spotty control. He probably won’t be in the majors for another 2 years at the very least. That’s more than enough time to work on refining his command and control. That may also improve the effectiveness of his offerings.
Jones is having a good year despite getting unlucky. The hard-throwing right-hander is a very high-ceiling prospect. He has the raw talent to become one of the Bucs’ best prospects. He needs more refinement, but I believe he can reach that potential. His stuff is good enough that he doesn’t need Greg Maddux-like command to be successful.