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Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #19 – JaCoby Jones

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 19 prospect, JaCoby Jones.

19. JaCoby Jones, OF

Jones was one of the more interesting picks by the Pirates on day two of the 2013 draft. He was listed as a second baseman, third baseman, and an outfielder by different outlets in pre-draft rankings. The Pirates drafted him as a center fielder. However, they had him getting time in at shortstop while he was with Jamestown, spending five games at short and ten games in center field.

Shortstop wasn’t a total surprise, since that was listed as a possibility for him. He’s a high upside draft pick with a ton of speed and athleticism, giving him options to play anywhere on the field. The Pirates definitely don’t need him in the outfield, since they have a lot of options there throughout the system. They are thin on infielders, especially shortstops and third basemen.

One downside with Jones this year was that he injured his knee after just 15 games, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. In his very limited time with Jamestown, he put up impressive numbers across the board. Jones should move up to either West Virginia or Bradenton, despite missing time with the injury. The big concern is whether there is any lasting impact to the knee injury, and whether it could impact his speed.

Jones has a ton of tools, although one knock against him is that scouts question his attitude and makeup off the field. This was reported before he was drafted by the Pirates, and it was something that we independently heard as well after the draft.

There are a lot of different options all over the field for Jones to play. His most valuable position, if he can stick there, would be shortstop. It seems more likely that he could stick at second base if he stays in the infield. His best position is center field, which would put him up against tough competition inside the system. The position he ends up playing will partially be determined by how well he can return from his knee injury, and whether there are any lasting effects.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • IC Bob

    I did not expect Jones at 19. I will have to follow closer from here on out.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    I agree, we really don’t need Jones in the OF – we are flooded with OF prospects. I also do not think he will hit for enough HR power to be an ideal 3B. At this point in his career, I would be playing him at SS, and then 2B, in the hope he can make it at one or the other – we are thin in both positions. I assume the kid who played SS at WV last year – forgot his name – will be in Bradenton this year. So, WV seems like the logical place for Jones to try his hand at SS – along with the Frazier kid.

  • piratemike

    maybe they should have Lambo have a sit down with Jones and give him some advice about growing up.
    Of course there is a chance it could work in

  • elgaupo

    Josh Harrison 2.0?

    • IC Bob

      I think Jones has significantly more power and speed then Harrison. It was my understanding that he struggled with the average while at LSU. Obviously that did not translate to his Jamestown numbers but I thought that was the reason we got him when we did.

    • CalipariFan506

      I think that might be Adam Frazier. Although I’d imagine Frazier gets on base better than Harrison.

  • leefoo

    Tim….when he was drafted, several outlets said he needed a swing overhaul, yet you don’t speak of it.

    Is that because Pirate coaches determined he didn’t need one?

    • Tim Williams

      They usually don’t do that kind of thing right away with players. They also didn’t really get a chance to do anything with Jones, since he went down with an injury early. I haven’t heard that they were planning on doing this, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. It just means he was still in the “no touch” period.

      • leefoo

        To quote any family on Family Feud, “Great Answer”.


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