How high is too high to rank Jared Jones at this point? In my rankings update last week, I moved him to SP35, and since then, he's tossed 11.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and zero walks, lowering his season ERA to 3.13, with the peripherals to back it up.

I tend to be pretty conservative with projecting small-sample standouts, and I'm really struggling with Jones, because … right now, he looks like Spencer Strider. I don't make that comparison lightly, it's just the most apt comp I can come up with right now.

When I did a deep dive on Jones' first couple of starts, that was the comp I came up with, because it's a pretty natural one. He has the top-rated fastball in the majors per the Stuff+ model, and his slider is a top-20 pitch by that model, as well; his changeup and curveball have mostly been show-me pitches (he threw them a combined five times Tuesday), but both of those rate out as plus pitches based on their movement and velocity profiles so far, too. 

And Jones seems to have fixed the one issue that held him back as a prospect, his command. He threw 84.7% of his pitches for strikes Tuesday against the Mets, which is as preposterous as it sounds: Since 2008, only one pitcher has ever thrown 50-plus pitches in an outing in MLB with a higher strike rate. We're talking about a pitcher with elite stuff and, seemingly, terrific command, who is dominating big-league hitters every time out, so what's holding us back from ranking him like an ace? 

Well, for one thing, it's only four starts. Jones has been tremendous, but he also had a 4.72 ERA last season at Triple-A, so it might be too early to just anoint him as an elite starter. There's a pretty thin line between someone like Strider and someone like Hunter Greene, another young pitcher with massive strikeout ability who has largely been a disappointment in the majors between mediocre command and a propensity for damage when he does give up contact. And, while Jones' command has been incredible so far, he has given up plenty of hard contact in the early going – though that wasn't an issue against the Mets, who averaged just 81.1 mph on nine balls in play Tuesday. 

But I think it's pretty clear SP35 is too low for Jones at this point. I wouldn't give him up in a trade to get Chris Bassitt or Bailey Ober, to name just two pitchers I had ranked ahead of him coming into this start, so I can move him ahead of them. But right ahead of Bassitt sits Joe Ryan, and that's a harder call to make; Ryan is off to a pretty bonkers start of his own, with a 34.3% strikeout rate and 2.9% walk rate, while also posting the best quality-of-contact metrics of his career. It is, similarly, too early to say Ryan has made a leap to ace-dom, but he did have quite a bit of success of his own before a groin injury derailed him in the second half of last season, so what if this is just who he is when he's healthy? 

So, that's where I'm moving Jones for now: To SP26. That's a gigantic rise for a pitcher I admittedly didn't even have inside my top-75 to open the season. But I also readily acknowledge that it might not be nearly high enough to justify how good Jones has been. And the only thing holding me back at this point might just be some lingering innings concerns – the Mets pulled him at 59 pitches during his gem Tuesday because he was only throwing five innings no matter what. But if he gets to 160-plus innings this season, can he be a top-12 pitcher? It sure looks like it right now.