Diamondbacks select Druw Jones, son of former Braves All Star Andruw Jones, with No. 2 pick

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Wesleyan Wolves outfielder Druw Jones (25) poses for a photo on April 24, 2022 at the Wesleyan School in Norcross, Georgia.
Wesleyan Wolves outfielder Druw Jones (25) poses for a photo on April 24, 2022 at the Wesleyan School in Norcross, Georgia.

SAN DIEGO — Around this time a year ago, as preparations ramped up for the 2022 draft cycle, Druw Jones’ name was at the top of the Diamondbacks’ board. He stayed there through the showcase circuits, through the spring season and through the club’s draft meetings — and he remained there on Sunday afternoon, when the first selection was made and the Diamondbacks took their turn on the clock.

With the second overall pick, the Diamondbacks landed the player they wanted all along, selecting Jones, a Georgia high school outfielder whom the organization believes possesses five-tool ability. The son of Andruw Jones, the former Atlanta Braves All-Star center fielder, Druw Jones draws comparisons to his father’s playing style, so much so that he barely pushed back on them.

MLB draft grades: Arizona Diamondbacks lauded for Druw Jones selection

“Everybody says we’re pretty similar,” Jones said on a conference call with reporters. “I mean, probably almost exactly the same.”

In Jones, the Diamondbacks see a player capable of playing an elite center field, a hitter who can hit for both average and power and a baserunner with speed and instincts.

“It’s the way he can impact the game in so many ways,” Diamondbacks scouting director Ian Rebhan said. Asked what stood out to his scouts about Jones’ play, Rebhan said, “I guess the answer would be everything. He can kind of do it all. He’s a really dynamic five-tool payer.”

During his 17-year career in the majors, Andruw Jones was a five-time All-Star and a 10-time Gold Glove winner. His most productive season at the plate came in 2005, when he led the majors with 51 home runs.

As it turns out, Druw Jones, 18, said his father was not the one who taught him how to hit. Because his dad was often gone during the baseball season, those lessons were conducted by Druw’s mom’s father, J.D. Derick.

“I try to make it my own game and be able to pursue and keep my career going and not really worry about what he did back in the past,” Jones said. “To be able to have my own name and play my own way.”

The Diamondbacks preferred Jones to another player with major league bloodlines, Jackson Holliday, whom the Baltimore Orioles selected with the first overall pick. Holliday is the son of Matt Holliday, the former All-Star outfielder. The club also was high on Georgia high school infielder Termarr Johnson.

Jones gives the Diamondbacks a third high-end position player in their system, joining Triple-A outfielder Corbin Carroll and High-A shortstop Jordan Lawlar, both of whom participated in the Futures Game on Saturday. Carroll ranks as Baseball America’s No. 5 prospect. Lawlar is No. 11. Jones figures to slot somewhere in the Top 50, if not higher.

Jones, who is represented by Scott Boras, is widely expected to command a signing bonus in the range of the pick’s $8.1 million value. It remains unclear how close the sides are to a deal, but the fact that he participated in a call with reporters could be an indication an agreement is close.

The Diamondbacks had two other picks on the first day of the draft. At No. 34, they selected Mississippi State right-hander Landon Sims, who is said to possess an elite mid-to-upper 90s fastball that he pairs with a wipeout slider.

The rub is that he underwent Tommy John surgery in March, adding risk to his profile and pushing back his debut until next year. The Diamondbacks felt he had too much upside to pass up; they think he has the potential to start and do not believe he would have been available in that range of the draft were he healthy.

The Diamondbacks went with an uncharacteristic selection with their next pick, going with Texas slugger Ivan Melendez with the 43rd overall pick. Melendez is a bat-first prospect, a right-handed hitting slugger who won the Golden Spikes Award after posting a gaudy numbers, including leading all of Division 1 baseball with 32 home runs.

In recent years, the Diamondbacks have tended to gravitate toward athletic, middle-of-the-field players with their top picks.

“Anytime you’ve got a chance to add that type of right-handed power to your organization, I think it’s super valuable,” Rebhan said. “A college performer like him, we’re super excited.”

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Diamondbacks select Druw Jones, son of former Braves All Star Andruw Jones, with No. 2 pick