This is one in a series of stories breaking down PBN’s Top 30 Pittsburgh Pirates prospects.
In putting Indianapolis Indians right-hander Jared Jones at the No. 3 spot in our prospect rankings, it’s about how he projects more than what he’s done so far.
The Pirates drafted Jones out of high school in the second round in 2020. In doing so, they picked up an incredibly raw talent who—to that point—could rely on physical ability alone to succeed.
Jared Jones, Pitcher
Jones, like many pitchers in this velocity-focused era, is learning how to become a pitcher instead of just a thrower. With a fastball that clocks in the high 90s consistently, Jones has often tried to blow past opposing batters instead of outsmarting them.
That gunslinging zeal even applies to Jones’ off-speed pitches at times. Opposing batters have burned him when he dots his changeup north of 90 miles per hour.
As he climbs higher through the ranks of professional baseball, it becomes harder to succeed with that approach. To Jones’ credit, his metrics have largely improved each year, even while navigating growing pains.
Jones has the kind of stuff you can’t teach, posting a K/9 of 11.17 throughout his professional career as he refines his craft. He remains solid in terms of command, which was a concern earlier in his career, striking out roughly three times as many batters as he walks.
Jones tore through the Eastern League with Altoona to begin 2023, posting a 2.23 ERA in 44.1 innings. That prompted a quick promotion to Indianapolis, where he struggled, pitching to a 4.72 ERA in 82 innings.
Endurance has been an issue for him at times, as he averages less than five innings pitched per game in his career. Again, that number is improving, but one wants more out of a starting pitcher.
Right now, Jones needs to combine the flashes he shows into a finished product. His talent is there: it’s a matter of developing it.