Devin Jones' Summer Heat

Eupora High School right-handed pitcher Devin Jones, a Mississippi State baseball signee, is heating up the summer with a sizzling fastball.

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"In my last game I was hitting 91 to 93 consistently," said the 17-year-old, who topped out at 95 and 96 in two Mississippi high school games earlier in the summer and 93 at the end of this past season.

And not only was he throwing hard, but he was getting a lot of swings and misses.

"I struck out 6 in three innings in my last game and didn't give up any hits," said the 6-3, 170-pound youngster. "In the game before that, I pitched against the Dallas Mustangs and struck out something like 7 or 8 in three innings and gave up 1 hit, although there were a lot of errors in the infield and outfield during the game."

One area of personal concern for Devin, though, is his two-seam fastball.

"I can throw my four-seam fastball where I want to, but over the last three weeks my four-seam fastball has been tailing outside and I don't really have control over it that I would like," Devin said. "I'm working on it so that I can control it."

He's also working with a former Major League Baseball pitcher on developing a split-finger fastball.

"I've been working hard with Mo Sanford on a split-finger, so that I wil have a fourth pitch that I can rely on," said Devin, who also throws a curveball and a changeup.

And he's not just concentrating on his pitching this summer.

"I've been working hard in the weight room working on my legs, back and abs ... really all my core," said Devin. "I've seen a tremendous difference in the strength in my legs."

Not to worry, though, he's not trying to build a football body with bulging muscles throughout.

"I'm not trying to get too big and loss my flexibility," said the all-stater. "I'm making sure that I keep my flexibility."

He's doing all this hard work partly in anticipation to his upcoming college career with Mississippi State. He's talked to two of the new MSU baseball coaches, John Cohen and pitching coach Butch Thompson.

"I spoke with Coach Cohen and Coach Thompson briefly," said Devin. "We really didn't get into how they plan on using me. But I am proud that I will get a chance to work with those guys."

While he's not sure exactly what his role will be once he's at State this fall, he's got some preferences.

"I would like to do both, play in the outfield and pitch," said Devin. "I hit something like .490 last season, .408 the year before and .480 the year before that. I wouldn't mind playing in the outfield and coming in as a closer."

But ultimately, it doesn't matter what his role is.

"If they give me a chance to hit and decide it's not cut out for me, I'm find with just pitching only," said Devin. "It doesn't matter if I start or close, either is find with me."

However, there is one last hurdle the MSU coaching staff has to get past if they want to see Devin at MSU this coming fall - the Cleveland Indians, the team that drafted Devin in the 49th round of the June MLB draft.

"(The Indians) said they were going to follow me throughout the summer and decide on how much money they want to offer me," said Devin. "I'm not really sure what I will do, but right now I'm really leaning to State. And it would have to be a lot of money to take me away from Mississippi State."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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