9-7-21 – By Justin Verno – @JV_PITT on Twitter
Another week is in the books and some guys looked great while one big time prospect officially has me worried. Could Tahnaj Thomas be seeing his FV number drop? I think it’s likely at this point. Let’s get to it.
1-Henry Davis – 50 FV Still on IL
2-Quinn Priester – 50 FV ARROW UP X2WEEKS
3 – Roansy Contreras – 50 FV IL
|Week – (IL)||2||4.50||7.00||||1.00||250||37.5%||0%|
4- Liover Peguero – 50 FV ARROW UP X2 WEEKS
5-Miguel Yajure – 50 FV
|Week – (IL)||7||3.86||7.08||||1.29||.167||20%||13.3%|
6- Oneil Cruz – 50 FV ARROW UP
7-Tahnaj Thomas – 50 FV ARROW DOWN
8-Nick Gonzales – 50 FV ARROW UP X2 WEEKS
9-Travis Swaggerty – 50 FV – Out for the year
10-Bubba Chandler – 45 FV
11-Ji-hwan Bae – 45 FV
12-Brennan Malone – 45 FV
|Week – A||3.2||0.00||7.61||9.12||2.45||.333||10%||25%|
13-Hudson Head – 45 FV ARROW UP
14-Cody Bolton – 45 FV -out for the season
15-Maikol Escotto – 40+ FV ARROW DOWN
16-Anthony Solometo – Nothing Yet
17-Jared Jones – 40+ FV ARROW UP
18-Carmen Mlodzinski – 40+ FV
19-Canaan Smith-Njigba – 40+ FV IL
|Week – (IL)|||||||||||||||
20-Lonnie White – 40+ FV
21-Rodolfo Castro – 40+ FV ARROW DOWN
22-Diego Castillo – 40+ FV- ARROW UP
|Season – PIT||282/342/445||.787||.164||.343||112||8.3%||7.4%|
|Season – NYY||277/345/504||.850||.228||.367||128||8.4%||13.7%|
23-Rodolfo Nolasco – 40+ FV ARROW UP
24-Jared Oliva – 40+ FV
25-Endy Rodriguez – 40+ FV ARROW UP X2 WEEKS
26-Mason Martin – 40+ FV
27-Jose Soriano – 40+ FV – Out for the season
28-Luis Oviedo -40+ FV – MLB
29-Cal Mitchel – 40+ FV ARROW DOWN
30-Eddy Yean – 40+ FV ARROW UP X2 WEEKS
Ten prospects with the arrow pointed up to only four pointing down. That’s what I call a solid week on the farm!
The growth for Priester, Gonzales and Cruz continues to be exceptional. I can see all three getting that 55 FV bump soon.
This leads us to the bad: Tahnaj Thomas. The stuff is reportedly electric, but the results have been more “the lights are out” than they’ve been “lights out,” if you catch my meaning. Now it’s possible they have him working on the “specific” areas of opportunity here, but even so, the growth has been slower than you’d like at his age and level. I imagine he is one prospect we see take a hit in his prospectus; maybe as low as a 40+ or a 45? Hopefully we see a corner turned soon enough.
And now on to the highlighted prospect: Jarred Jones. I was leaning away from using any of the 21-22 draft picks in this section, but it looks like my adoration of Jones’ stuff is too much to contain.
Jones’ spin rates, even in high school, we’re advanced. Jones wasn’t just a two way player in high school–he also played two spots. Due to this, his arm wasn’t abused–which was a common theme in the 2020 draft for Ben Cherington and his staff–so the idea here is that sole focus on pitching could have a high ceiling for Jarred.
In his senior season he touched 99 MPH on his fast ball, so Mr. Cherington could be on to something. But here’s the kicker: he doesn’t need to rely on velo! There’s a saying in baseball, “starters who aren’t fire ballers, you have to spin it to win it!” And Jones can spin it. How advanced is he? Jones has a four pitch mix, a fastball (4 seamer), a slider, curveball and a change up. (work in progress). Let’s look at the MLB spin rates for his best three pitches: fastball, curveball, and slider. The MLB spin rates for those offerings are as follows-
Here’s how Jones stacked up…in high school.
Jarred Jones can spin it. It’s easy to see why I liked the kid coming out of school. An honest question… if I told you there was a high school starter that had these spin rates, a four pitch mix, was young, and had a fastball that could touch 99 MPH and stood 6’4″–and had a perfect game, where do you think he’d get drafted? And here’s our hurdle: he’s 6’2″ , two inches from being a top 10 prospect.
How is his season going? Solid is about as strong as I can say. His peripherals are solid enough, with an xFIP of 3.45 and an ERA of 3.88 are in line. The interesting thing here is the BABIP is .291(pretty high and shows some bad luck). The WHIP is elevated due to a 10.3% walk rate and sits at 1.43, but due to great spin rates and the ability to touch 99 MPH, he’s striking out 35.4% of the hitters he faces. Did I mention the kid can spin it?
What’s next for Jones? He has to know where the pitch is going. Control, control and control. That 10% walk rate needs to come down. Spin is great, but he needs to find the plate. The BABIP at some point has to stabilize especially if he can continue to K at a 30%+ clip. It will be fun to look at the spin rates at the end of the year!
If Jones can funnel the pitches and learn to hit the mitt, he could be special.