What is the 31st Team? From BA: Players who were in the Prospect Handbook at one point but didn't make the final cut. We like to call them "The 31st Team."
Michael Jones, ss, Reds
Born: Nov. 19, 1986. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 180. Drafted: HS--Jesup, Ga., 2005 (8th round). Signed by: Steve Kring.
Jones didn't play in showcases and his high school team didn't attract many scouts. But the Reds were intrigued by his power potential when they saw him, and they were even more impressed when he had a strong showing at a predraft workout at Great American Ball Park. Cincinnati took him in the eighth round last June and signed him for $65,000. Facing former college pitchers while using a wood bat, Jones showed good bat speed, good power and no fear, and his pop has the Reds excited. During instructional league, Jones crushed a pitch 420 feet to dead center field for a home run and showed improvement. He has a quick bat and eventually could hit for both average and power. Though he's currently a shortstop, Jones likely will grow out of the position. His actions are good but raw, and he has trouble setting his feet and getting into proper fielding position. He has an above-average arm and average speed (4.3 seconds to first base from the right side). Jones is a high-risk, high-reward pick whom the Reds will have to be patient with. He was in over his head in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year, and likely won't play full-season ball until 2007.