FanGraphs new Pittsburgh Pirates prospect list included a new set of grades, with Jared Jones getting an upgrade in command.
FanGraphs recently released their top Pittsburgh Pirates prospect list. It gave the Pirates a promising outlook, with FanGraphs stating the Bucs have one of the best farm systems in baseball right now. One of the more promising developments to come out of the updated list is Jared Jones getting an upgrade in the command department.
Jones ended 2021 with a 20-current and 35-projected command grade per FanGraphs. However, with their new rankings came an updated set of tool grades on the 20-80 scale, and Jones has now been upped to a 30-current and 45-projected command grade. We cited Jones as one of the notable risers in the updated FanGraph rankings.
This is a very promising step forward for the young right-hander. Jones is a hard thrower with four offerings. His four-seamer averaged out in the upper-90’s with over 2500 RPM of spin. It’s a genuinely elite offering. He also has an excellent slider that also has plus-plus potential. But he isn’t just a fastball/slider kind of pitcher.
His curveball also projects to be above average. Meanwhile, his change-up is a solid fourth offering. It may not be on the same level as his other three pitches, but he has a feel for it, and it’s a fourth, average or better pitch. Solid command with this kind of stuff is devastating:
When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Jones the question that faced him was his command and control. Last year, Jones showed he could handle batters over two years older than him. Jones’s ERA is deceiving. While he had a 4.64 mark, the right-hander also had an incredible 34.1% strikeout rate, 0.82 HR/9, and a healthy 43.5% ground ball rate. Predictive measurements including FIP (3.91) and xFIP (3.75) pointed to a much better pitcher. A .385 batting average on balls in play inflated his ERA. It was the 11th highest mark at his level (min. 50 IP).
Now he did have an 11.3% walk rate, but the league average walk rate was over 12% (12.3% to be exact). Plus, there is a difference between command and his ability to prevent walks. Command is based on a pitcher’s ability to hit his spots, meaning how good he can hit the catcher’s mitt. Meanwhile, control is the ability to prevent walks.
If his command only sits slightly below average at a 45, he could truly be one of the Pittsburgh Pirates aces of the future. A 97-99 MPH fastball will play up with average command. That goes for his other pitches too. Jones is trending upward, and now with the highly regarded Dewey Robinson on board to help with pitching development, Jones may even reach a 50-grade when he’s 22/23-years-old.