With the swipe of a selection in Sunday’s 2022 Major League Baseball Draft, the future outfield of the Arizona Diamondbacks suddenly took shape. With one-third of the unit currently patrolling the Chase Field gardens, one recently promoted to the AAA Reno Aces and now with the second overall selection Sunday, the years ahead could showcase one of the strongest in the game.
That’s because, Druw Jones, the Diamondbacks’ selection on Sunday at number two overall, is projected to be an impact player. Where baseball drafts for the future, as opposed to the NFL and NBA which select players for immediate contribution, Jones has the potential to quickly climb through the Arizona minor league system and promptly be noticed.
While the genes are important, his love of the game and the ability to play at a high level attracted several suitors. Jones visited several major league organizations but the Diamondbacks, with that second pick overall, jumped immediately on the outfielder with enormous potential.
His father, Andruw Jones was a 10-time Gold Glove recipient in centerfield for 17 major league seasons. In that time, he hit 434 career home runs, batted a career .254, and knocked in 1,289 runs. In 76 post-season games, Jones hit .273 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs.
“I play a similar game as my dad,” Druw said during a zoom with the Arizona media late Sunday night. “We’re not much different and the level of play is about the same.”
Coming into the draft, Druw was considered to go either one or two. When the Orioles took shortstop Jackson Holiday, son of former major leaguer Matt Holliday, that made the election of Druw Jones a no-brainer.
If his ascendancy to the majors is swift, Jones will quickly join Alex Thomas (hitting .241 in 61 games with Arizona in 2022), and Corbin Carroll (.313 16 homers, 39 RBIs in AA Amarillo before promoted to AAA Reno). Regarded with superior defensive skills and power from the right side, Jones could easily complement Carroll and Thomas, both left-handed hitters.
After Wesleyan (Ga.) High School, Jones, at 6-4, 180 pounds, is committed to Vanderbilt but will likely sign in the coming days with Arizona. Regarded as the best defensive center fielder in the draft, Jones arrives in the desert with a better-than-average throwing arm and also has the potential to play an adequate shortstop.
Quickly, Jones pointed out his style and strength of his game.
“I try and hit everything up the middle,” he said. “That way, the ball usually has to potential to land in gap.”
Part of his resume was leading Wesleyan of Norcross to the Georgia Class A private school state title. Along the way, Jones was named Gatorade’s Georgia’s high school player of the year. For his senior year, Jones hit .570, with seven doubles, three triples, 13 homers, and knocked in 39 runs. In addition, he walked 33 times and stole 32 bases.