Druw Jones is ready to live up to the hype

July 17th, 2022

The D-backs selected Druw Jones with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 Draft. Here's a deeper look at Jones that was first published on MLB.com in the weeks leading up to the Draft.

ATLANTA -- As Druw Jones sat by his famous father during a June 8 game at Truist Park, he witnessed Braves center fielder Michael Harris II race into the right-center-field gap and gracefully make a catch that conjured memories of the many great ones Andruw Jones made during his storied Atlanta career.

The long fly ball produced by A’s catcher Sean Murphy had a 40 percent catch probability per Statcast. The Jones Meter would have seemingly generated more likely odds.

“I asked [Druw], can you make that play and he said, ‘probably easy,’” Andruw Jones said with that same smile he flashed while winning 10 Gold Glove Awards and tallying 434 home runs during his great Major League career.

Druw Jones’ confident response didn’t surprise his father or Brian Krehmeyer, who had the pleasure of coaching the 18-year-old outfielder throughout his high school career at suburban Atlanta’s Wesleyan School.

“Druw has got it all,” Krehmeyer said. “You talk about the five tools and he even has the sixth one, which is the mental makeup, the composition of being able to handle the pressure and handle the ups and downs that a baseball season brings with it and still continue to perform day in day out.”

Druw Jones’ stock continued to rise as he capably handled the extra pressure he faced over the past few months. Along with being the son of an Atlanta legend, he was also projected by many to be the best overall prospect available in the 2022 MLB Draft. But he responded much the same way his father did in 1996, when as a 19-year-old, he homered in his first two career World Series plate appearances.

With Jones hitting .570 with 13 home runs and a 1.702 OPS, Wesleyan went 35-5 and won the Class A Private School state championship this year.

“Druw handled it with grace and he came out the other side smelling even better than when he went in,” Krehmeyer said.

The young Jones’ even temper was widely seen by the baseball world when multiple media outlets showed him homering against Georgia State University commit Brady Jones as students from Decatur High School chanted, “Overrated.”

“Kids want to be kids and you have to deal with it every time you go to a game,” Andruw Jones said. “Everybody is going to cheer whatever they want to cheer. But he keeps his head straight and he doesn’t let a lot of things bother him.”

Krehmeyer said there were two other instances where Jones tripled as students from other schools attempted to heckle him with similar chants.

“It got to the point where the opposing team would call timeout and start hollering at their fan base, ‘Don’t you know how he responds to these situations?’” Krehmeyer said.

During some of Druw Jones’ earliest years, he would put tee balls on top of water bottles and try to hit them. This led to him being put on a youth golf team, which he ditched because he didn’t like walking around in the Atlanta heat. He played baseball for travel teams throughout his childhood, but opted to play basketball instead of baseball through his eighth grade year at Wesleyan.

With the high school basketball and baseball season overlapping for a few weeks, Jones had to make a decision. He began the year playing basketball, but convinced Krehmeyer to give him a chance to participate in an intra-squad scrimmage during the team’s tryout period.

After hitting in the cage and throwing off to the side, Jones joined the scrimmage and immediately ripped a single before stealing second and third base. He then made a nice catch in center field, threw out a runner going to third and basically proved he could come off the basketball court and immediately make an impact on the diamond.

“Even though I knew he was ready for varsity, I wanted to give him a couple games of junior varsity ball,” Krehmeyer said. “Well, I think after the second JV game, the JV coach called me and said, ‘He doesn't need to play with us anymore. He's toying with the competition. It's embarrassing how much better he is than the other kids on the the junior varsity.”

Andruw Jones remembers the pressure he felt whenever he was compared to Willie Mays or Ken Griffey Jr. during the early years of his career. So, while he says “it’s almost scary” how similar his son looks to him at the plate and in the field, he has done everything he can to help Druw focus only on being himself as he pursues a successful career.

“He knows what he wants to do,” Andruw Jones said. “All I’m doing is just guiding him the right way. Hopefully, he achieves his dreams.”