The third of seven total University of California, Berkeley, baseball players to be selected in the 2012 Major League Amateur Draft was none other than 2009 Oakdale High graduate Justin Jones.
The savvy junior left-handed pitcher was nabbed in the 26th round of the draft by the Minnesota Twins on June 6, landing the 28th pick of an MLB franchise that ultimately selected 42 players (24 of them pitchers). Jones was the 790th of 1,238 total selections across the draft’s 40 rounds.
If Jones signs a minor league contract, he will likely be designated to pitching appearances with the Gulf Coast League Twins of Florida or the rookie level Elizabethton Twins (Tennessee).
The organization also includes the class-A Beloit Snappers of Wisconsin, the class-A advanced Fort Myers Miracle of Florida, the AA New Britain Rock Cats of Connecticut and the AAA Rochester Red Wings of New York.
The Major League Twins are currently 24-35 (last) in the American League Central and best known for rostering the likes of catcher Joe Mauer, outfielder Josh Willingham and pitcher Francisco Liriano.
Jones is the first Oakdale graduate to see selection in the MLB draft since former Mustang pitcher Boone Whiting was picked up in the 18th round of the 2010 draft. Things worked out well for Whiting, who was 5-3 for rookie league Johnson City and 5-2 for the class-A Quad Cities River Bandits. Whiting is three promotions shy of the majors, but currently resides on the 60-day disabled list for the class-A advanced Palm Beach Cardinals.
Jones was the first of three total Cal pitchers to get drafted this year. Jones struggled at moments this season, but showed his potential during a complete-game two-hit shutout victory over Washington State on May 6. He won four games in 2012 to slide into fourth on Cal’s all-time win-list, but didn’t quite match freshman and sophomore outings where he finished a combined 19-12 with a 3.51 total ERA and struck out 154 hitters. Jones had a 4.57 ERA in 2012 with 50 strikeouts.
Jones was a Freshman All-American and All Pac-10 selection in 2010 and earned Pac-10 honorable mention status as a sophomore after 14 starts and 20 appearances. He made the third-team preseason All-American team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association this year.
The former Mustang teamed up with Whiting to lead Oakdale to a Sac-Joaquin Section title in 2007 and joined current UCLA ace Nick Vander Tuig for a Section title run a year later.