With the 44th overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Jared Jones out of La Miranda HS in California.
We mentioned Jones as a good pick at 44th overall in our tiered draft rankings, though there were quite a few better names ahead of him still on the board. He rated well for Baseball America (41st overall), despite some questions.
Jones has a smaller frame (6’1″, 180) and there’s some real effort to his delivery, which leaves some doubt as to whether he could be a starter in the future. His changeup is also a distant third pitch at this point. He’s also old for his draft class, turning 19 soon, when there are a number of 17-year-old picks in this prep class. Those things leave some questions, but just like there are questions to hold him back, there are reasons to like the pick here.
Jones has a fastball that will get into the upper 90s, to go along with an above average slider, giving him a strong two-pitch mix. He’s also an elite athlete, who did well as an outfielder in high school. He also throws a lot of strikes and improved his command of pitches. You could be talking about a power reliever if the starter role doesn’t work out.
He has a commitment to Texas, but if the Pirates are picking him here, it’s very likely that he signs.
Here’s a recent video from Prospect Pipeline, though the action shown obviously wasn’t recent.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.