PHOENIX — The future is looking bright for the Arizona Diamondbacks with young talent on their roster and in the pipeline.
On Saturday the D-Backs introduced their top pick from the 2022 MLB Draft, Druw Jones, who spend the day celebrating with his family in the Valley.
“It’s a good group of three core outfielders now and there’s a lot of still young guys and the coaching staff is always for the young guys,” Jones said. “It means a lot to be one of those guys that they are hopeful to have in the future.”
The 18-year-old center fielder from Suwanee, GA, put pen to paper in Arizona after becoming the No. 2 overall draft pick. Jones is the son of longtime Atlanta Braves outfielder and five-time MLB All-Star, Andruw Jones, who made the trip to Phoenix to watch his son take the next step in his baseball career.
“For him to put all that work in and finally got what he wanted to do, I’m so proud of him,” Andruw said. “I came here [Chase Field] for playing against the Diamondbacks. I remember when we played in the National League Championship [Series] against the Diamondbacks in 2001 when they won the World Series. So, a lot of memories, a lot of good games here. It’s fun to be here right now and see him [Druw] playing on the ground where I played.”
Andruw remembers his time playing at Chase Field back in the day but this weekend was Druw's first time at the D-Backs' ballpark. In a matter of weeks Druw went from being named Georgia's Gatorade Player of the Year to taking batting practice with Christian Walker, who leads the D-Backs in home runs this season with 22. He had a chance to speak with manager Torey Lovullo and members of his coaching staff while getting a glimpse of what his life with the club could look like. Although Andruw emphasizes that his son is his own, unique player, Druw says he models a lot of his game after his ten-time Gold Glove-winning father.
“A lot of people will say we’re almost exactly the same. I mean, I grew up watching him play so that’s pretty much where I get all the instincts from,” Druw said. “He’s a little bit thicker than me, probably, so it’s a little bit different but it’s pretty much the same player.”
Druw's big day at Chase Field culminated with him throwing out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the Diamondbacks' game against the Washington Nationals. Druw says he's had the honor of throwing out the first pitch once before with the Gwinnett Stripers, but that wasn’t in front of tens of thousands of people.
“During our high school season, they have some of the guys from Gwinnett County come out and throw a first pitch, so I go to do that one time but it’s a lot different stage; Triple-A versus a Major League game,” Druw said. “I think I’ll be alright. I’ll just try to get it over the plate.”
Druw did just that, throwing to another young outfielder on the D-Backs roster, 22-year-old Alek Thomas. Druw says the biggest piece of advice from mom and dad has been to play hard every day and now the top prospect is just waiting for his moment to do that for the D-Backs.
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