The MLB Draft is coming up next week on June 3. Click here for my preview, exploring recent trends in past A’s drafts. Here’s a profile of one of the more likely names we could see Oakland choose in the 1st round with the No. 29 overall pick.
Greg Jones, SS | UNC-Wilmington
Size: 5’11”, 170 – 6’2”, 190 (Depends on source!)
Stats: .343/.489/.554 in 275 PA, with 51 BB / 41 K
Stats, cont’d: 12 Doubles / 9 Triples / 5 HR / 40 SB / 10 CS
Fangraphs Scouting Grades: (Future Value = 45)
Hit: 30/45 | GamePow: 20/45 | RawPow: 50/55 | Speed: 70/70 | Field: 40/50 | Arm: 55/55
Jones is one of the best athletes in the Draft. Fangraphs (FG) noted double plus athleticism on their Big Board. Baseball America lists his Speed as 80 Grade. A freshman starter, his bat has taken a massive leap forward in his second year. A growth spurt added strength and as a switch-hitter he always has the platoon advantage. He won’t be a big HR hitter but he’ll be able to drive the ball into the gaps. As a draft eligible sophomore he has the highest OPS in his conference. Jones gets some plus grades on his Arm but he also had a sore shoulder limit him to DH early in the season. Has the range and arm to stick at SS but some think he’d be a plus CF.
Jones has the highest OPS in his conference but the Colonial Athletic Association isn’t a powerhouse and there are legitimate concerns about the level of competition he’s faced. The Hit tool is the big question mark. He’s only produced at this level for one season and he struggled with wood bats (near 30% K-rate) in the Cape Cod League last summer. The hands are questionable, there are concerns about him consistently making the myriad of throws expected of a SS, and if you’re projecting Jones in CF it’s all theoretical.
I think Greg Jones is a bigger, stronger, switch-hitting version of Kevin Merrell. There is some smoke connecting Oakland to Jones and I think it’s because he so perfectly fits the profile of what the A’s have been looking to draft recently. The concerns about the level of competition he’s faced are valid … but if you’re going to be in a weaker conference, post the best numbers! I think he’s on the A’s short list at 1.29. He’s extremely athletic, has an up-the-middle profile and he’ll probably sign for a bit under slot. That’ll help the team make an additional splash on Day 2.