Jared Jones was the Pirates’ second-round pick in 2020. An over-slot high school draftee, Jones had a big fastball and high-end talent coming out of La Mirada High School. Jones’ first two pro seasons had their ups and downs. In his rookie season, he posted some solid results at Bradenton but ran into bad luck. He cut down on the walks the next season at Greensboro, but his other numbers moved in the wrong direction. But now, at Altoona, it seems like Jones has put it all together.
In 40.2 innings, Jones owns a strong 2.21 ERA, 3.55 FIP, and 0.98 WHIP. How Jones would handle walks as a professional would be a big make-or-break point for the right-hander. But as of now, he has a walk rate just below 9% at 8.1%. Jones has a healthy 25.6% strikeout rate while only allowing three home runs all year.
Jones’ stuff was never in question. He still averages out in the mid-upper-90s with a plus-plus spin. He also has a plus-plus slider while mixing in an average curveball and change-up. However, his control has gotten significantly better season after season. He first had an 11.3% walk rate but is now below 9%. However, command wise, Jones still gets inconsistent. Both are trending in the right direction. However, his control is far out ahead of his command.
Jones has already gotten some early top 100 attention, with Baseball America putting Jones at the tail-end of their recently updated top 100 prospect list. Jones came in at no. 91 but certainly could rise from there. Other lists, such as Baseball Prospectus, MLB Pipeline, and FanGraphs, could soon add Jones to their top 100 lists. He’s certainly trending in that direction.