By Jesse Wood
July 2, 2013. The month of June provided quite a ride for Watauga High School graduate Ryder Jones. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and signed for a nice sum.
He met Hall of Famer Willie Mays, and in his professional debut last Friday, Jones had two hits and scored a run as the Arizona League Giants beat the Arizona League Diamondbacks in a 5-1 victory.
San Francisco Giants drafted Jones in the second round of the 2013 Major League Baseball first-year player draft. Although he had committed to powerhouse Stanford University, Jones signed an offer with Giants days after the draft that included an $880,000 signing bonus.
Jones, who was awarded the USA Today/Gatorade N.C. Player of the Year in May, isn’t a Watauga County native, though. He moved to the High Country for his senior year because his father Billy Jones, a former Oklahoma State assistant coach, was named the head coach of ASU’s baseball team during the 2012 summer.
A shortstop and pitcher at WHS, he is starting his professional career as a third basemen. The Giants drafted shortstop Christian Arroyo in the first round, and the two are now roommates.
After the duo went a combined 3 for 6 in their professional debuts last Friday, the San Jose Mercury News wrote: “They’re years away, but given that both came out of high school and play on the same side of the infield, that could be a fun duo to watch as they move through the minors together.”
After his debut, Jones tweeted, “Love this game.”
In his senior season at Watauga, Jones, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, batted .461 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. While on the mound, he threw 63 strikeouts with a 1.23 ERA on 40.1 -innings pitched.
In the classroom, he maintained a 4.00 GPA.