If the Pirates debut another top pitching prospect, it will be Jared Jones. The Pirates paid big money to sign Jared Jones after taking him in the second round of the 2020 draft, taking him as a hard-throwing high schooler. Jones has shown talent in each of his minor league seasons but seems to be putting it all together this year.
Jones started the year off at Double-A Altoona in just his age-21 campaign. Despite his youth, Jones dominated, working to a 2.23 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP. Jones struck out 26.3% of opponents while owning a quality 8.9% walk rate. However, his biggest strength was preventing the home run, only allowing three in 44.1 innings, which is a 0.61 HR/9 rate.
That earned Jones a promotion to Triple-A Indy, where he's had some ups and downs, but some bad luck also played a big role. Jones has pitched 24.1 innings, working to a 5.18 ERA but a strong 2.27 FIP and 1.27 WHIP. Jones has allowed fewer walks (7.8%) and has struck out more batters (29.1%) while nearly cutting his HR/9 in half (0.37), but a .349 batting average on balls in play has not helped Jones.
Jones's stuff has looked better than ever, throwing in the upper-90s with plus spin. He also throws a slider, change-up, and curveball. The best part about Jones is that he's not just a Luis Ortiz with a big fastball and nothing else. All of Jones' offerings are average, at the very least. Both his command and control have trended in the right direction as well.
Jones could be the most exciting pitching debut the Pirates will have until Paul Skenes makes the Majors. Jones has big stuff, and seeing what he can do in the bigs should be fun. Keep in mind we're still talking about a guy who is just 21. He'll turn 22 in the first week of August, but that's still pretty young for many to make it to MLB.