Not wasting any time, Atlanta Braves General Manager Frank Wren spent yesterday checking off a big to-do on his off-season list: getting rid of Derek Lowe. He found a willing trade partner in the Cleveland Indians, a team willing to take on a third of Lowe's salary, and give the Braves a minor league prospect in return. Left-handed pitcher Chris Jones joins the Atlanta organization, and he looks kind of like a left-handed Kris Medlen; check it out:
A few similarities, especially the flat bill of the hat, and the deliberate windup. Jones is no where near as good as Meds, that's just the guy I think he kind of looks like on the mound. Jones' career track reminds me a bit of Macay McBride -- a kid drafted out of high school, who began as a starter, then moved to the pen and became a decent LOOGY for several years.
Kevin Goldstein added to his description of Jones with this analysis at Baseball Prospectus:
Converted to relief in 2010, Jones has whiffed 151 over 162 innings over the past two year, but he's also 23 and and has yet to reach Double-A, where he'll likely begin the 2012 season with his new organization. A six-foot-two left-hander, Jones has average velocity and an effective, yet slurvy breaking ball, but it's his quick, funky delivery and low arm angle that give him big-league potential. The stuff is nothing special, but the deception makes him highly effective against left-handed batters, who hit just .145/.265/.217 against him in 2011, going 12-for-83 with 29 strikeouts
Taken as a whole, Jones has some possible value, as he could turn into a good lefty specialist if things go right. But there are plenty of lefthanders of this caliber in most systems, and each has a fairly slim chance of making the majors, let alone turning into an asset. The Braves certainly aren’t to be slammed for settling on Jones, as they benefit from this deal in other ways, but he’s not a pitcher who fans should expect to make a big difference for the team in either the short or long run.
Not a bad piece of minor league depth, but nothing to really get too excited about. His numbers against lefties are impressive, and if the Braves focus on just that, then Jones could see the Majors sometime in the next two years as a lefty bullpen specialist.