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by Matt Sisk

Zach "Snub" Jones

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While examining MLB.comís top-20 prospect list, I am pleased to see that some deserving names were added recently. But there is one name that I feel has been "snubbed," to use the parlance of our times. Despite his dominating numbers on the hill, Zach Jones is still not in MLB.com's top-20.

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Zach has never sniffed MLB.comís top-20 list, even though he has averaged 13.6 Kís per nine innings in his 1.5 years of pro-ball. He has been used exclusively out of the pen in his infant career. But he has been relied upon to pitch the big-time late innings for his teams, and has done a fantastic job.

Last season, Zachís WHIP was 1.15! I donít care how many guys he walked if his WHIP remains below 1.2 for an entire season of pressure appearances. He struck out 70 batters in 48.2 innings last year while performing part-time closing duties for Ft. Myers (he had 14 saves). He is definitely on my radar, yet MLB.com has Luke Bard ranked in the top-20 instead. I just donít get it.

Twins management was certainly paying attention to Jones in 2013, and sent him to the Arizona Fall League to see what he could do. Jones struggled, but my money is on Zach finding a way to learn from his experience. How could he not progress after interacting with all those top prospects as teammates and opponents? His tough experience could be very constructive and motivating for him as he ascends to AA and/or AAA in 2014.

Zach held his ERA down to 1.85 last year at Ft. Myers. Can he continue to be a dominating reliever at New Britain? Or will the Twins decide to try him out as a starter this year? Either way, I feel that Jones is heading to the big club sooner, rather than later. The Twins need some power arms out of the pen, and Jones could definitely be one of those types. MLB.com should take notice in 2014, but they definitely let him slip this time around.
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