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2019 MLB draft: Tampa Bay Rays select SS Greg Jones with the No. 22 pick

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With their first pick, the Rays landed one of the best athletes in the draft.

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays, Game 7 Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

With the No. 22 pick in the draft, the Rays selected shortstop Greg Jones from UNC Wilmington.

Last week, we previewed Jones as a potential pick for the Rays:

College hitters are typically viewed as safer picks with less upside. That is not Jones.

He’s a draft-eligible sophomore who has greatly improved this season. He has game-changing speed and is one of the NCAA leaders in steals. He’s been making more contact this season with a reduced strikeout rate and increased walk rate.

He’s hit for some more power this season too, but reports are mixed on whether he has average power potential or below. He wasn’t great in the Cape Cod League last summer.

The reports are mixed on his defense as well. He has the tools to remain at shortstop, but the best use of his speed may be in center field, where he would be a very good defender.

Jones was ranked No. 51 in the draft by Baseball America, No. 62 by Keith Law at ESPN, No. 27 at FanGraphs, and No. 48 at MLB.com.

Although he wasn’t ranked as a certain first-round pick by every source, industry buzz in the recent week indicated this is the range where he would be selected.

A scout told Baseball America that Jones has the best speed they’ve ever scouted. MLB.com gave his speed the highest grade on the scale, 80.

As far as the budget goes, FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen believes Jones will sign for roughly the slot value of the pick, $3,027,000.