JaCOBY JONES, SHORTSTOP
|Born: May 10, 1992
Drafted: 3rd Round, 87th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
Agent: Boras Corporation
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Jones is an ultra-toolsy player, considered by some the best athlete in college baseball going into his junior year, but his performance has never lived up to the tools. He has excellent speed and raw power, enough to win the Southeast Conference’s HR derby, but he’s had problems making contact. He’s played several positions in college, including second and short, but scouts consider him best suited for the outfield and the Pirates announced him as a CF. Baseball America rated him the 75th best player in the draft. The Pirates weren’t able to negotiate with Jones for a while after the draft because LSU advanced well into the College World Series, but he signed for exactly the slot amount shortly after LSU was eliminated.
Jones got off to a good start at Jamestown but, unfortunately, injured his right knee after just 15 games and missed the rest of the season. The walk and K rates weren’t good in a small sample size, but he showed some power and speed. Jones played ten games in center and five at short, so it looks like the Pirates may keep an open mind about finding the best spot for him.
Jones spent the year as the regular at short for West Virginia and had a breakout season, leading the farm system in HRs. He got off to a solid start, struggled through June, when he missed half the month due to injury, then got blistering hot in July. He posted an OPS of .981 in July and 1.029 in August, although he missed a week and a half out of that month. He hit LHPs and RHPs about the same. The big concern, obviously, is the very high K rate and low walk rate. It’s also a good idea to bear in mind that he was a draftee from a major college program playing in low A. The Pirates have had other college draftees, like Matt Curry, dominate low A to a much greater degree than Jones and then struggle higher up. The scouting view of his defense is that he may or may not be able to stay at short. If he does, he clearly presents huge upside. He had 24 errors in 99 games at the position in 2014, which isn’t bad at all considering that he didn’t even play there in college.
Jones will be at Bradenton in 2015, playing short, where the Pirates believe he can stay. If he continues to hit, he should move more quickly. He remains a very high risk, high upside player.
|2015: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $612,000
MiLB Debut: 2013
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 7, 2010: Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 19th round, 573rd overall pick.
June 7, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 3rd round, 87th overall pick; signed on June 27.