PP Scouting Report: RHP, Jason Jones

Jason Jones may be the forgotten man in the early rounds of the Yankee draft. However, managers and coaches seem to think he may very well be the most polished pitching draftee of them all. Let's take a closer look at righthander, Jason Jones. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)</b>

Vital Statistics
Name: Jason Jones
DOB: November 20, 1982
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: The New York Yankees selected RHP, Jason Jones in the 4th round (129th Overall) of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft out of Liberty University.

Maybe having the more flashy, Jesse Hoover on the same pitching staff with him in Staten Island is why no one ever talks about Jason Jones. Or maybe people just don't take the time to look at the numbers. But, to be honest, Jason Jones has the perfect skills of a modern day baseball pitcher. With the big hitters in the game today, walks have gone up and more and more pitchers have become bat shy. No one could ever accuse Jason Jones of that. If you want a guy to pour in strikes, you could choose Jon Lieber or you could also choose Jason Jones.

You can call him a Jon Lieber clone and some people have even compared him to Greg Maddux. But, the deceiving thing about Jones is his body. With a monstrous 6' 5" inch frame and well over 200 pounds, you would think of Jason Jones as playing country hard ball. However, his game is not to overpower the hitters but to make them put it in play, usually on the ground or soft liners into fielder's gloves. Perhaps if more young pitchers took a page out of his book, baseball would be a lot better off. Jones works right off of his fastball and goes after the hitters in every at bat. It may not seem like a big deal but most young pitchers are constantly trying to make the ball miss the bat. The Yankees may have found a gem of a true "pitcher" and not a thrower. Right now, he doesn't get a lot of attention but as he continues on the fast track to the big leagues, people will begin to notice just how good he is. But, don't think the Yankee don't know what they have. You can credit some fantastic scouting for the drafting of Jason Jones.

So, you see Jason Jones' statistics in his first professional season and you have to figure he was just as outstanding in his college career. However, the fact is that he never really had that chance to be in his college career at Liberty University. While he showed flashes of brilliance, it never really came together for him. In his freshman year as a Liberty Flame, Jason was just about a non factor. He threw 35 innings and posted an unimpressive 5.91 ERA. The next year, as a sophomore, Jones performed much better but was still nothing that would blown anyone away. He led the staff in victories with 11 but posted a pedestrian 4.76 ERA for the season. Although things looked better for him going into his junior year, 2003, Jones was struck down by a knee injury. He was forced to redshirt his junior year because knee surgery cost him the entire season. He came back and had another solid season as a senior at Liberty but it was still nothing to write home about. So, the Yankee scouts must have seen something that others didn't when they took Jones in the 4th round of the draft, right?

"I think a guy like Jason Jones will go straight to Tampa because he is a strike thrower. I mean, he is one of the best strike throwers I have seen," said Battle Creek Yankees manager, Bill Mosiello. The guy virtually doesn't walk anyone and has real good stuff. I am pretty sure we won't have him and he'll be in Tampa next year." Jones spent his last few starts in Battle Creek and held his own there even after a long college season and pitching in Staten Island. So, it really does seem that he deserves to start in the rotation in Tampa next season. Even though he may not blow you away, you may not find a more polished pitcher out of college out there. Also, the statistics below just how good the control is of Jason Jones. The lack of walks totals is staggering.











Battle Creek









Staten Island








Repertoire. Cut Fastball, Sinker, Curveball, Slider

Fastball. It is hard to say that Jason Jones' is not overpowering because with the movement he gets, he really is. To show just how good it is, there are many games in which Jones just pours in fastball after fastball. His heater ranges between 89-92 MPH but velocity is not the important thing for him. His cut fastball is a lethal pitch for him and it will produce a lot of soft line drives and broken bats. It is fair to say that he probably uses his fastball 80% of the time. He has a lot of life on it and he can just depend on the movement that he can produce.

Other Pitches. Besides his fastball, Jason Jones doesn't use very many other pitches. He can get away with it because of all the life and movement he has on his fastball. However, Jones does have a superb slider. Very much like Jon Lieber, he can really fool hitters with the slide piece. It has good tilt diving down and away from right handed batters. It also has a very late and a very big break. The slider is a big time pitch but strangely, Jones does not use it often. He will probably use it more as he moves up the ladder and it should give hitters fits.

Pitching. Jason Jones is the classic sinker, slider pitcher. But, with the type of fastball or fastballs that he has, he can pitch a whole outing primarily with fastballs. He can break bat after bat and he can also induce groundball after groundball. Also, hitters are going to try and go after everything he throws because of the amount of strikes he throws. Walks are a very rare commodity with this righthander. He works out of a 3/4 arm slot which helps him produce all the movement his fastball has. Most of his pitches during the game are fastballs and his occasional curveball or slider baffles hitters. His control is fantastic and he can spot all of his pitches at any time in the count, any part of the game and in any part of the strike zone. His command is what sets him apart. He is very aggressive and goes right after the hitters. Jones has nearly flawless mechanics and and a very fluent delivery. He, flat out, knows how to pitch. Very polished.

Comparison. Jon Lieber. Besides the fact that Jones is a bigger bodied pitcher, these two have almost identical styles. Lieber and Jones will give up a fair share of hits when they take the mound but both have the secret weapon called the double play ball. Jones has the ability, like Lieber, to unleash a heavy sinker to produce groundballs almost at will. Having that ability, he can afford to give up just over a hit per inning. Also, both of these guys are a bat company's best friend. Throwing an extremely heavy ball, Jones can shatter a bat with his cut fastball.

Projection. Right now, Jason Jones looks like a front end of the rotation starting pitcher. He is the type of guy that can be banked on for a solid outing every time he takes the mound. That is what you have to have in a front end guy and Jones has it. And, he also has the ability to dominate with his heavy fastball. With his big body, it looks like he can be a horse that could eat a lot of innings in only a couple years.

ETA. 2007. It is certainly a bold prediction but one that fits the pitching ability of Jason Jones. Jones will likely be pitching in an offensively weak Florida State League in 2005. With his pitching savvy and overall skills, he should be an overmatch for most of those hitters. He may even make it to AA Trenton by mid season but if he continues on strong, he will likely spend most of his season in AAA Columbus in 2006. Barring any major setbacks, Jones will then look primed for the Bronx in 2007.

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