2023 Future Stars Series Main Event player profile: Paul “P.J.” Jones II

September 23, 2023

Already a well-rounded person off the field, Paul “P.J.” Jones II is eager for a big opportunity to show he’s a well-rounded player on it.

An honor student at Cretin-Derham Hall High School — where Paul Molitor, Joe Mauer and Jack Hannahan also went — Jones was first seen by the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series at the Bennie Baseball Scout Day, where he came into the event with a big reputation which included winning the 2019 State of Minnesota Jr. Home Rub Derby title as well as a nomination for the 2023 Gatorade Player of the Year Award.

The University of Maryland commit didn’t disappoint, performing well at the National Combine in Nashville and earning his way to the upcoming Main Event in Boston, set for September 29-October 1.

Listed as a first baseman and right fielder for the orange team, Jones II has enjoyed the benefits of playing at FSS events, but particularly the camaraderie that comes with meeting new people and learning more with every opportunity he earns.

“It’s a huge honor to be a part of the Future Stars Series,” he said. “This program brings people together from all over the country, and I’ve gotten to know some incredible players and coaches who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I love getting to spend time with people who share my passion and who take the time to give their knowledge to help me perfect my game. Mostly, I’m getting a clear picture of what it takes to compete at an elite level and what I need to require of myself in my training.

Listed at six-foot tall and 195 pounds, the left-handed hitter says he’s been working to improve every aspect of his game since his memorable appearance with the red team at Shelby Park in July, including making gains in speed, agility, strength and bat-to-ball skills, trying to eventually fulfill some of the projection the scouting staff saw in him.

“By participating in the Future Stars Series, I’ve learned from a range of experienced coaches who each give me slightly different insights into my own game,” Jones said. “I think the variety of expertise on hand is one of the biggest advantages of the program, and it’s been invaluable.”

That is, perhaps, the best word to use when describing what it would mean for a young man like Jones to get an opportunity to follow the footsteps in his famous grandfather, Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Cesar Tovar, who also played for the Phillies, Rangers, Athletics and Yankees over a 12-year big-league career that saw him earn the nickname, “Mr. Versatility.”

Tovar played many times as a visitor at Fenway Park — he appeared in 63 games there, hitting .262 with four homers — and Jones II is excited for his first chance to see America’s most beloved ballpark for himself.

“I can’t wait to see the Green Monster in person. I’m thinking about all the greats who have played on that field, including my own grandfather, Cesar Tovar,” he said.

I’ve worn (his) number 12 on most of the teams I’ve played on as a way to honor my grandfather…to me, stepping onto the field at Fenway Park is another reminder of the legacy of this game. I’m proud of my lineage and want to be a part of this tradition.”

That lineage is no guarantee of future success, however, and Jones is well aware he needs to continue to put in the work to do just that. There’s no better opportunity than to show it at Fenway Park, where dozens of major-league scouts and execs should fill the seats behind the plate to get a first-hand look at many of the top players from the 2024 grad class.

“I’m looking to show them all my skills, everything I’ve been honing since I was a kid,” Jones said. “I want them to see why I’m one of the best players in the country. I’m currently one of the top leaders in Minnesota in home runs and was selected to play for the Cincinnati Reds Scout Team on their fall 2023 team. Because I’m committed to attend the University of Maryland as a two-way player, my focus now is making sure I’m ready to bring my best to the collegiate level and do my part to continue the winning history at Maryland. I want to invite every MLB scout and executive to keep following my progress, (and) I know my best is still ahead of me.”

Mike Ashmore
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