The Tampa Bay Rays selected a shortstop from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington with their first pick of the 2019 draft.
The Tampa Bay Rays stuck to the script to start the 2019 draft… sort of. They did take a shortstop. But, they didn’t take Gunnar Henderson. They did take a college bat. But, they didn’t take Mike Toglia. Instead, they took Greg Jones, a speedy shortstop out of UNC Wilmington.
I didn’t expect them to take Jones. Neither did any of the 2019 mock drafts. So, let’s take a look at Greg Jones and see what the Tampa Bay Rays got with their first pick of the 2019 draft.
Greg Jones, SS, UNC Wilmington
- 21 years old
- 6’2″ // 190 lbs.
Considered the best sophomore eligible prospect in the draft, Jones showcases elite speed. Baseball America and MLB Pipeline grade his running tool as an 80. In 62 games, the young shortstop hit .341 with 5 bombs and 42 stolen bases. He walked more than he struck out and, “creates havoc when he gets on base,” according to MLB.com.
There is concern regarding his ability to stay at short and many expect him to end up in centerfield. But, with his speed and athleticism, his tools are expected to play very well in the outfield.
Jones took home the Colonial Athletic Association’s player of the year award along with the Tournament MVP award.
What the experts say:
MLB Pipeline: “He’s the fastest premium prospect in the college ranks and has the tools and upside to become the first Seahawk ever selected in the first round.”
Here are some clips of Jones:
FanGraphs Video of Jones this season:
Perfect Game Video of Jones:
2080 Video of Jones in Cape Cod League last season:
I would expect the Rays to look towards a pitcher with their next pick which happens to be 36th overall.
I like Jones. I didn’t expect it, but I like it.