A second-round selection for the Cardinals in the 2016 MLB Draft, Jones has shown solid growth over 188 innings of pro work and is currently working his way through his first full season of Double-A ball in the Texas League. Jones was a three-year contributor and two-year member of the weekend rotation at Virginia, though inconsistent showings in his junior year in particular often left evaluators wanting.
Jones’s fastball has been his bread and butter at the professional ranks, coming with bowling ball heft and helping him to an elite 3.63 ground-out-to-air-out ratio (2.77 in 2018). He works consistently in the 91-to-95 mph range with the heater and holds his velocity 75-plus pitches into his starts, pairing it well with a quality changeup that he turns over with good arm speed deception and arm-side fade. The UVA product has struggled to find a consistent breaking ball, shifting between an upper-70s curve and low-80s slider, with inconsistent shape and depth across the board. He’s at his best when he snaps-off a deep and sharp 11-to-6 curveball but he struggles mightily to repeat his release and too often ends up with a soft and slurvy bender.
Despite continued struggles with consistency in execution, Jones has cleaned-up his mechanics some from the windup since his days in Charlottesville, shortening his arm circle in back and doing a better job of staying on time through his up-tempo motion. He’s much less consistent from the stretch, however, and the control profile probably only plays to average at maturity with loose command in the zone. He could be successful as a back-end arm with that profile thanks to his heavy groundball tendencies and quality fastball-changeup combo, but may ultimately find more success out of the pen where the two-pitch mix could play up.