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Mike Jones, rhp
Thunderbird HS, Phoenix


Jones climbed to the top of the list of the nation's high school prospects last summer when he wowed scouts at the major high school showcases. He showed superior athletic ability, loose arm action, excellent mechanics, tremendous makeup, above-average velocity and life on his fastball. He still has those qualities but didn't make advances in other parts of his game as scouts hoped he might. He still lacks a quality second pitch. He throws a curve but gets under it too much, resulting in a flat, slurvy plane. He also showed little progress on a changeup. It's nothing that advanced instruction won't correct. Even Jones' signature fastball, which he threw at 94-97 mph last year, dipped to as low as 91 on occasion. Jones had stiffness in his shoulder this spring and made a series of starts 10 days apart to ease the strain. He wasn't impressive in his final start of the year, a loss. Jones is an accomplished power hitter and played shortstop for his high school team when he didn't pitch. He would be a high-round pick as a position player, too, but it's clearly as a pitcher that he commands high first-round attention. Some scouts say he's no sure thing and point to Matt White, who received a $10.2 million bonus as a can't-miss prospect in 1996. White had a lot of the same traits as Jones--and still hasn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues.

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