If it hadn't been for a devastating one-car accident three years ago, Chad Jones likely would be playing in the NFL. Instead, the left-handed pitcher was selected by the Reds in the ninth round of the First-Year Player Draft on Friday.
In 2007, Jones was drafted in the 13th round by the Astros, but decided to go to LSU where he could start on the diamond and on the football field. He was drafted twice in 2010, once by the Brewers and also by the NFL's New York Giants as a safety in the defensive backfield. Jones chose football, but before he could ever play a down, he broke his left leg and ankle in a car accident, which led to him being cut by the Giants.
Without football, Jones turned again to baseball.
"I would say about two months ago, he started to work out," said Reds senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley.
In his junior year at LSU, Jones appeared in nine games as a pitcher. He allowed four hits and posted a 2.70 ERA while striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings. Jones also batted .343 with six RBIs.
Buckley said Jerry Flowers, who lives in Baton Rouge, La., took the lead on scouting Jones, and the organization believes he can get back what made him a big-time prospect years ago.
"Absolutely," Buckley said. "We all scouted Chad through football and baseball at LSU. Unfortunately for him, he had the bad injury. This kid had tremendous potential, and he hadn't even scratched the surface because he only played baseball when he wasn't on the football field."
WDSU News in New Orleans reported at the end of May that Jones was throwing for MLB scouts and that the 25-year-old lefty's fastball was clocked between 88-91 mph.
"Once it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to get on the field, I turned back to my second love, which I knew would take off for me," Jones told WDSU News. "I never felt like it was a rush to get back to baseball, because I knew I still had it in me to throw, even hit, if that was the case."
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.