With the 70th overall pick in the draft, the Cardinals went back to the college righthander well, and picked a pitcher who, going by most of the draft rankings, should probably be seen as a bargain.
Connor Jones is, by far, my least favourite pick of the night.
Jones made his name last season, in the 2015 College World Series run-up, when he filled in for the injured Nathan Kirby and helped push the Cavaliers through their title run. He looked good doing it, too.
This year...not so much.
Jones, at his best, features a fastball that's a tick above average, and three offspeed offerings that are all right about 50 grades. The combination of multiple pitches and good sink on the heater can make him a better pitcher than the raw stuff would suggest. However, this year, the stuff wasn't where it had been in the past, and Jones simply lost the ability to get empty swings from college-level hitters. He kept the ball on the ground plenty, but the strikeout rate is just brutal.
There's also the matter of Jones's delivery, which I don't like whatsoever. Very late arm, to the point I can't see Jones staying healthy basically at all. I don't think he's all that good right now when he's healthy, and I don't think he's going to stay healthy. As much as I loved the first three picks the Cardinals made this year, I dislike this one just that much. This feels like drafting Mike Mayers all over again, confusing proximity to ceiling with actual safety; just because a guy is close to his finished form doesn't mean he's close to being a finished major league product. Some guys just don't have the ceiling of a big leaguer. And I don't think Connor Jones does. A guy who throws 103 innings and strikes out just 72 in college is not a guy who's going to zoom through the system to the majors. Or creep through the system to the majors, for that matter.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm really disappointed in this pick. Still, three out of four I like a lot; this one is just a letdown.
via Jheremy Brown: