Are MLB's top two pitching prospects in the same org?

May 8th, 2024

Paul Skenes’ MLB debut -- set for Saturday -- has been the top headline in prospect circles for weeks now. Fans are clamoring to see the 6-foot-6 fireballer and his electric stuff in Pittsburgh.

While Skenes’ fanfare is well deserved, there’s another an ace-in-the-making toeing the rubber in the Steel City: Jared Jones.

The right-hander, who opened the season as MLB's No. 62 prospect and is currently ranked No. 55, has been stellar for the Pirates. Through seven starts, Jones sports a 2.63 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and an MLB-leading 10.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio, narrowly outpacing George Kirby (10.3).

The first MLB Pipeline Top 100 list “market correction” of the season is set for Monday, May 13. The re-rank is strategically scheduled the same day that players with no previous Major League service time who started the season on Opening Day rosters graduate from prospect status, thus leaving 15 holes to fill on the list.

One of those graduating prospects will be Jones, so on this week’s Pipeline Podcast, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo explored where he would’ve ranked if he wasn’t graduating.

Mayo: Somewhere in the 30s behind Rhett Lowder
“Each year of his pro career he's progressively gotten better, and he's evolved more than any pitching prospect that I've seen in some time. From a guy who was just pure thrower [with] reliever risk to a guy who obviously now is one of the best rookie starters in all of baseball is having a tremendous year.”

“He's been very, very good and it's 41 innings. This is a huge step forward compared to what he did in Triple-A after he got promoted, and he's very young, but he is to be commended for the work that he has put in. He continued to very much just attack hitters with the stuff that he has and has been even more around the strike zone than he has been at any previous point in his career.”

Callis: No. 2 pitching prospect in baseball behind Skenes
“I'm not even going to call this a hot take because I sincerely believe this ... He leads the Majors in swings and misses. The fastball-slider combination has just been missing bats left and right. I mean, this is what we want pitchers to do, right?”

“You look at the stuff. You look at the results. He's getting it done at the big league level. These other pitchers are off to good starts, but [Jacob] Misiorowski is walking guys at Double-A, Jackson Jobe is walking guys at Double-A, I'll take Jared Jones. He’s doing it now, he's got a better health history than most of those guys. I'm taking Jared Jones over all of them except for Paul Skenes.”