Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Jones RHP
A 4th round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2012, Baseball America ranked Jones as high as #25 on Minnesota’s Top Prospect list in 2014. In 2012 Baseball America also rated his fastball as the best in the Twins system.
Jones split his year 24 season between Advanced-A and Double-A. Zach got off to a strong start with his Double-A club in April (1.29 ERA, one walk and 13 K’s) and May (3-1, 1.74 ERA, 4 walks, and 9 K’s), but struggled in June before going on the 7-day DL on June 30th. Upon his return on July 7th, Jones continued to struggle and was demoted after two less than spectacular outings.
The product of San Jose State took his 95-97 mph fastball and low 80’s slider down to Advanced-A and dominated. He produced 13.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 while finishing with a 2-2 record, 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 10 BB, and 38 K in 24.2IP at the lower level.
Jones could help the back end of many bullpens right now, but could frustrate manager and fans with his inability to consistently throw strikes.
There’s always an element of risk when selecting minor league players that their current team don’t feel are worth protecting, but the rewards out weigh the risks. The three guys listed above could just easily become mainstays at the back end of the pen as end up pitching in Hi-A in 2016, but if they didn’t have control issues they wouldn’t be available in the Draft.