Slight Tweak Helps Pirates’ Jared Jones Throw More Strikes


Righthander Jared Jones takes a small step across his body on the mound and pauses. His left foot rests one step ahead of his right foot, which braces on the rubber.

From the plate, his position is turned slightly, almost closed off toward the hitter. After pausing to get set, Jones begins the process of his delivery.

The step across to start his delivery is a new adjustment for the 22-year-old Jones this year, aimed to get him in a better starting position.

“It’s nothing like a drastic change,” Jones said. “It’s more of just where I’m comfortable. Picking my leg up right from that position leads me straight toward the plate.”

Jones had already seen better results from the new starting point. In 10 starts for Double-A Altoona, he posted a 2.23 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 16 walks in 44.1 innings.

That earned him a late-June promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he maintained a 30% strikeout rate and 10% walk rate.

The Pirates drafted Jones in the second round of the five-round 2020 draft, signing him for an over-slot $2.2 million to keep him away from a Texas commitment. The Pirates saw potential in the La Mirada (Calif.) High product to emerge three years down the line.

Jones’ fastball sits mid 90s and has hit triple digits. His slider has a chance to be a plus offering, and his changeup has made positive strides this year. His new starting point is aimed at keeping all of that average-to-plus stuff in the strike zone more frequently.

His mentality, which is not new, is to attack the opposing hitters without fear, aiming to throw strikes and get out of the inning quickly.

“I try not to change my mindset too much,” Jones said. “I’m a competitor. It’s who I am. Just wanting to throw the ball through the catcher. It’s really what I’ve been focused on the most.”

Jones has not only emerged as a candidate to be the top pitching prospect in the system, but as a guy who could be pitching in Pittsburgh by the end of the 2023 season.


— The Pirates recently called up a pair of first-rounders: 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis and 2020 seventh overall pick Nick Gonzales. They were giving the Pirates’ offense a needed boost, Davis playing right field and Gonzales shortstop and second base.

— The Pirates promoted shortstop Liover Peguero to Triple-A Indianapolis after he was one of the best hitters in the system in June. He hit .307/.375/.594 with seven home runs for Double-A Altoona during the month of June. The Pirates have had an unstable middle infield picture, which is currently being helped by Gonzales. If Peguero continues his hitting, he could also factor into the MLB mix by the end of the season.

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