On this edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates prospect updates, we're going to take a look at standout pitcher and the number three overall young Bucco, pitcher Jared Jones.
Jones was drafted by the Pirates in the 2020 amateur draft after previously committing to play for the Texas Longhorns program at the college level. Jones would sign with the Pirates, and the former two way star was quickly set to start with the GCL Pirates, pitching full time. 2021 would see him spend the entire season in Bradenton, and then 2022 all with Greensboro, where he would lay the groundwork for a shot at playing at higher levels.
2023 saw Jones receive an invitation to Spring Training with Pittsburgh, before being assigned to Altoona. In ten starts with the Curve, Jones would go 1-4 while posting a 2.23 ERA. The record wasn't great, but his low amount of earned runs on the mound saw him get elevated to triple-a in June where he would finish out the season with mixed results, ultimately not getting the call up to Pittsburgh this season.
The inconsistencies for a young pitcher going through the ranks of the minor leagues is not uncommon, especially for someone as raw as Jones. Athletically, Jones is as gifted as they come, with an incredibly strong arm. That strength has helped Jones model himself as a power pitcher, with his fastball sitting between 96-99 mph. This season in particular saw Jones work more on his off-speed pitches, and furthering the gap between his curve and sweeping slider, finding more concrete identity in both. Even his changeup is coming along, although touching 90 with an off-speed pitch is a no-no.
Jones is expected to make his debut in Pittsburgh in 2024, and while I’m not going to rule that out, I do think he could see some time bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and the majors. Mitch Keller was the same way when he was first starting out, and it looks like Quinn Priester may be as well as he too needs to further develop an identity on the mound.
Jared Jones is the number 69 overall prospect in baseball and the number three overall prospect in Pittsburgh’s system.