Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE
Connor Jones, RHP — A 2016 draftee I was not a fan of at the time (which was unusual for me that year, as I liked almost everything Randy Flores did in his first go-round as scouting director), Jones has been mostly fine so far as a pro, but there are some serious red flags in his peripherals. The stuff he possessed in college — three 60 grade pitches in his sinker, slider, and changeup — has largely evaporated. The one thing he still has is a sinker from hell, with the kind of boring, heavy movement that makes him nearly impossible to lift. He still throws hard enough, sitting around 91-92, but that’s a huge turn down from where he was at Virginia.
Jones has been a starter so far in the minors, but with one truly great pitch and not much else, I think he should be in a bullpen sooner than later. If the velocity plays up closer to the mid 90s, he looks like Blake Treinen all of a sudden. If not, Seth Maness still isn’t the worst outcome.
This was a short one, so here is a bit from last year’s scouting report:
He should move relatively quickly through the system; this is a strike-thrower whose ticket to the big leagues is going to be his sinker, easily his best and most developed, polished offering. Jones isn’t all that different from Jake Woodford, the sinkerballer the Cards took out of a Florida high school in 2015, though I feel like Woodford potentially has a higher ceiling because of more ability to miss bats. So long as Jones stays healthy, he should take off pretty quickly in 2017. Long term, I honestly think his best fit within the organisation is probably as a trade piece in the next two years, as the Cards try to define which pieces they are going to keep and which to cash in to hopefully bring in some more core-level talent. A relatively polished college righthander whose ceiling falls a little short of being that core-type piece is exactly the sort of asset clubs need to produce from within.