UPDATE MONDAY 4:17 PM: The Pirates have officially announced the signing. Jones will begin his career in Jamestown.
THURSDAY: According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with third round pick JaCoby Jones.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) June 27, 2013
Jones received $612,000, which is exactly the slot price. Callis notes that he’s the best athlete in the college crop of this year’s draft, with the chance to be a future center fielder. The Pirates drafted Jones as a center fielder, although most outlets consider him to be a better second baseman. After the draft, Pirates Director of Amateur Scouting Joe DelliCarri had the following to say on where Jones would end up.
“We’ll develop the player and the person in combination to find the best fit for him on the field, because he has played multiple positions at school,” DelliCarri said. We’ll play him in multiple positions here as well, but most importantly develop the person and continue to develop the athlete.”
In our day two reactions I had Jones as the sleeper pick from day two, with the following thoughts:
The Pirates haven’t had a lot of success in this area before, but Jones is a very toolsy outfielder with raw power, speed, and the ability to stick in center field. He reminds me somewhat of Evan Chambers and Mel Rojas, who both had a similar “athlete/raw power/speed/can play center” combo. Not that Jones is the same type of player as those guys, just that he shares the same qualities, with the big quality being that he’s raw. The Pirates have been successful with pitchers, but haven’t managed to have the same success with the raw hitters on the US side. They’ve done well with a few international guys who have been raw (Gregory Polanco as an example), but the track record isn’t strong. Still, Jones has the chance to be a pretty good sleeper if he fixes his swing and taps into his power.