College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2013 college baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be adding players day-by-day until we get to number one!
Number 49 on our Top 100 Countdown is Cal’s Justin Jones. The 6’2 left-handed pitcher from Oakdale, California was a 7th-round draft pick in 2009 by the White Sox.
As a freshman, Jones had a strong breakout season for the Golden Bears as he went 10-6 with an ERA of 4.22 with 73 strikeouts. His success earned him a variety of honors including being named First Team All-Pac 10 as well as a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. His success continued into his sophomore season where he went 9-6 with an ERA of 2.93 with 81 strikeouts, helping the Golden Bears advance to Omaha which ultimately helped to save the Cal baseball program from being cut. He was also named honorable mention All-Pac 10.
In June of the 2011 season, Jones injured his throwing arm which led to a six-month hiatus from pitching. During 2012, he went 4-9 in 16 appearances with an ERA of 4.57 and 50 strikeouts. The numbers don’t quite do his season justice however. As he continued recovering from the injury and getting back into pitching, his numbers improved throughout the season and the quality of his outings increased significantly. Following the 2012 season, Jones was drafted by the Twins in the 26th round.
Although it’s hard to accurately analyze the future of a player who is coming off of a significant injury, Jones shows a lot of promise. The improvement that was seen throughout the 2012 season shows that despite his injury and the difficulties that go along with it, he does have the ability to bounce back from the injury which speaks a lot for both his physical and mental ability. With a stellar curveball highlighting a strong repertoire, once Jones’s groove is back he is sure to be one of the top players to watch for in 2013.