Former New York Giants safety Chad Jones was selected Friday by the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, marking the fourth professional team to draft the two-sport star.
Although once viewed as a unique size-speed prospect, Jones never played a down in the NFL due to a 2010 auto accident in which he nearly lost his left leg. After more than a dozen surgeries, Jones simply couldn't recover his pre-accident speed and cutting ability. He turned his attention from football to baseball earlier this offseason.
A southpaw pitcher, Jones was throwing at 88 to 91 mph in front of representatives of eight major league teams last month.
"As far as baseball, my body is physically 100 percent," Jones said, via The Times-Picayune. "I feel real good. I told the teams I feel like I could play in the field again, but pitching is what I'm focused on."
Baseball America's Jim Callis recently described Jones as an "exceptional athlete" with first-round potential as both an outfielder and a pitcher despite never focusing on baseball. The Reds must believe Jones still can harness that ability on the diamond.
Resuming his baseball career at the professional level is "another milestone" for the former Giants safety, Jones' father said. We hope to see him on the mound at Great American Ballpark in the near future.