The Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres made a trade yesterday, with the Orioles sending pitching prospect Devin Jones to the Friars for relief pitcher Brad Brach. Here is the scoop on Jones.
Devin Jones, RHP: Jones was drafted in the ninth round in 2011 out of Mississippi State University, where he was used as a relief pitcher. He had command troubles in his pro debut in the New York-Penn League, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 21/13 K/BB in 24 innings, but was more effective in Low-A in 2012 (2.65 ERA, 51/11 K/BB in 55 innings). He was converted to a starter on reaching High-A and looked good early (2.80 ERA in nine starts, 29/12 K/BB in 55 innings). However, he was unable to duplicate this in Double-A in 2013, posting a 5.84 ERA in 123 innings for Bowie in 2013, with a 108/48 K/BB and 146 hits allowed.
Jones has a lanky 6-2, 175 build. Age 23, he has more potential than you might think given his ugly Double-A numbers. His fastball sinks and can hit the mid-90s in short stretches, although as a starter he's more in the low-90s. His slider is effective against right-handed hitters, but his efforts to develop a change-up have been less successful and lefties hit him hard: they hit .350 against him this year.
ANALYSIS: I don't think Jones is going to make it as a staring pitcher, but he's had bullpen success in the past with his sinker and slider, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him develop into a competent middle reliever. He's a lotto ticket but he's also four years younger than Brach. It is a logical trade for both sides I think, the Padres cashing in a surplus middle relief arm for someone younger who could develop into a talent of similar value, while the Orioles get someone who can help now.
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