With the 22nd overall pick of the 2019 draft, the Rays have selected UNC-Wilmington SS Greg Jones, a switch-hitting, athletic defender who may project more as a center fielder.
MLB Network labeled Jones with 80-speed, something Jim Callis agreed with, calling him the fastest college prospect in the draft.
The Ryas didn’t use as direct of words, but agreed with the sentiment: Jones has speed.
Rob Metzler, #Rays director of amateur scouting, on No. 22 selection SS Greg Jones: “He’s a top of the scale runner. Greg Jones is an excellent athlete. We’re really excited to have him.” pic.twitter.com/68BoQwC8aW— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) June 4, 2019
Baseball America sees top-tier speed but overall shaky defense for the college sophomore as things stand.
[...] elite speed, plus throwing arm and potential as a switch-hitter.[...] Scouts questioned Jones’ hit tool prior to this spring, especially after he struggled in the Cape Cod League last summer with a strikeout rate close to 30 percent. This spring, however, Jones has cut his whiff rate down to 13 percent through 47 games, striking out 29 times compared to 40 walks. He’s hit for more power in games as well, although he does most of his damage via doubles and triples.
His 80-grade speed has also shown up on the base paths, where he has 31 stolen bases through his first 38 attempts.
Jones would push that stolen base total to 40 on the season.
Jones didn’t play shortstop at the beginning of the season while he was dealing with shoulder soreness, but even when he got back to the position scouts wondered if he had the skill to stay there at the next level. He has the plus arm strength, range and athleticism to handle shortstop, but he lacks consistency and focus, often struggling on routine plays with questionable hands.
New Rays SS Greg Jones got better and better this year. Came into the year thought by many as someone who would need to move to CF, but showed he may be able to stay at SS. Rays love position versatility and Jones has that.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 4, 2019
He could be a plus defender in center field with his current skill set, and many scouts will submit him to their teams as an outfielder rather than a shortstop. Jones’ upside is tremendous, and he could grow into above-average raw power as he fills out his 6-foot-2, 190-pound frame with plenty of bat speed from both sides.
#Rays Metzler said he "doesn't have all the answers" but thinks Greg Jones could be a "high quality" shortstop, but also adds that it's not out of the question that he ends up as a center fielder in the future.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) June 4, 2019
FanGraphs meanwhile tabbed Jones with 7-grade speed, calling him a “high risk college player slated to go in the middle of the first round.” As noted by Rays Radio, Jones was projected to go 21st by Jonathan Mayo, and 23rd by Jim Callis in their final mock drafts for MLB.com and MLB Network.
Let’s see that speed in action! Here’s Jones with a stand up triple:
Latest #MLBDraft buzz from @jimcallisMLB:@UNCWBaseball speedster Greg Jones may have locked in a 1st-round spot after his performance at the @CAASports tournament. More on our No. 48 overall @MLBDraft prospect: https://t.co/XauwriagEM— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 25, 2019
And here’s a collection of a little bit of everything in a highlight reel from his college team:
If it’s just pop you’re looking for, here’s a clip from that reel of just a home run:
Jones also has a couple highlights in the weight room, including this incredible long jump:
If you’re jonesing for more video of Jones switch hitting, 20-80 has you covered:
And finally, here’s a bit more of his highlights at UNC-W last season:
Jones sends one over the left field fence! pic.twitter.com/JoAGmo7n5b— UNCW Baseball (@UNCWBaseball) May 26, 2018
Jones turns another nice play in the 2nd pic.twitter.com/cpFWgzY94c— UNCW Baseball (@UNCWBaseball) May 23, 2018