The 2012 amateur draft is only five days away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.
Christian Jones | LHP
A potential first round pick coming into the spring, Jones grew up in the Bay Area before headed to the University of Oregon. His draft stock took a huge hit when he blew out his elbow in February and needed Tommy John surgery.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs., Jones throws three pitches from a low arm slot when healthy. His sinking fastball sits in the low-90s and his slider sweeps across the plate, as you’d expect given his arm slot. A changeup serves as his third offering. Jones repeats his classic drop-and-drive delivery well, but he can still suffer through bouts of wildness on occasion. His makeup and work ethic are considered major pluses and his rehab is going well by all indications.
The new spending restrictions really screw over a kid like Jones, who went from a potential top pick to someone who might not be drafted at all. Baseball America ranked him as the 315th best prospect in the draft following the elbow injury, so way down the list. With teams unable to pay him say, third or fourth round money without incurring harsh penalties, there’s a very good chance Jones will return to school and come out as a potential top pick in next year’s draft. I really like him as a late-round upside play, but the system really doesn’t allow for those kind of picks anymore.