Nathan Andrew Jones
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 5", Weight 185 lb.
- School Northern Kentucky University
- High School Pendleton County (KY) High School
- Debut April 8, 2012
Jones was drafted by the White Sox in the 5th round of the 2007 amateur draft out of Northern Kentucky University, between two other future big leaguers, Andrew Romine and Andrew Carignan. He was the 5th of 6 straight pitchers Chicago took to open the 2007 draft. He had fanned 60 in 56 1/3 IP as a college junior, allowing a .185 average and 2.88 ERA. The scouts were Mike Shirley and Michael Wilder.
Jones made his pro debut with the 2007 Bristol Sox, going 0-4 with a 5.13 ERA. He walked 29 and threw 11 wild pitches in 47 1/3 IP. He tied for second in the Appalachian League in wild pitches and tied David Peralta for fourth in walks issued. In 2008, the tall right-hander struggled with the Kannapolis Intimidators (1-7, 6.83, 35 BB in 56 2/3 IP), Bristol (4 R, 1 ER in 6 2/3 IP, 1-0) and Winston-Salem Warthogs (1 R in 2 2/3 IP). Baseball America rated him as having the best curveball in the ChiSox system.
Jones showed progress in 2009 with Kannapolis (2-0, Sv, 2.41, 25 K, 8 H in 18 2/3 IP) and the Winston-Salem Dash (2-1, 3.65 in 32 G). Baseball America again said he had the best curveball of a Pale Hose minor leaguer. Spending all of 2010 with the Dash, he was 11-6 with a 4.08 ERA. He led the Carolina League with 152 1/3 IP, tied J.J. Hoover and T.J. McFarland for second in wins (one behind Joe Gardner) and was 5th in whiffs (109, trailing Randall Delgado, Hoover, Brad Peacock and Buddy Baumann). He was once again rated as possessing the top curveball in the Chicago White Sox minor leagues.
In 2011, Jones returned to the bullpen with the Birmingham Barons. He went 2-3 with 12 saves and a 3.27 ERA, striking out 67 in 63 1/3 innings. For the Indios de Mayaguez that winter, he was 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 16 K in 14 2/3 IP.
In his MLB debut on April 8, 2012, he relieved Will Ohman in the bottom of the 7th with a 5-0 deficit against the Rangers. He walked his first two batters, Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler, but got Elvis Andrus to hit into a double play then whiffed Josh Hamilton. Jesse Crain relieved in the 8th. Jones became the 4th major leaguer from Northern Kentucky University, following Chris Hook, Scott Wiggins and Josh Lueke, all fellow pitchers. He had an excellent first year in the majors, putting up an unblemished record of 8-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 65 games. He pitched 71 2/3 innings that season, notching 65 strikeouts. In 2013, he pitched 70 times out of the Sox's bullpen, going 4-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 78 innings. Injury troubles then felled him in 2014, when he made only 2 appearances for Chicago and gave up 4 runs without retiring anyone, ending up with an infinite ERA. He had to undergo Tommy John surgery and did not return to the major leagues until August of 2015. He was pitching better than ever on his return, however, as he went 2-2, 3.32 in 19 games, and struck out 27 batters, against only 6 walks, in 19 innings. He also gave up only 12 hits.
The White Sox were convinced that he could be a key part of their bullpen going forward and on December 18, 2015, signed Jones to a three-year deal worth $8 million, with three additional option years that could kick in if he remained healthy. The contract also included a significant bonus clause if he were to become the team's closer over the period.
- 2012 White Sox Media Guide
- Northern Kentucky University bio