Cal’s Dylan Beavers, Stanford’s Brock Jones: Outfielders with big-league futures – San Francisco Chronicle

Each man plays the outfield and hits left-handed. As sophomores last season, each drilled 18 home runs, which left them tied for the Pac-12 lead. Each played on the USA Baseball Collegiate national team in July.

And come this July, there’s a decent chance each man — Cal’s Dylan Beavers and Stanford’s Brock Jones — could become a first-round pick in the major-league draft.

“They’re in scoring position at home plate,” Stanford head coach David Esquer said. “They can affect the game in a lot of different ways.”

Said Cal head coach Mike Neu: “They both have power. They both play premium defense in the outfield. They both run the bases well.”

Stanford's Brock Jones stole 14 bases last season.

Stanford’s Brock Jones stole 14 bases last season.

Scott Gould / ISIPhoto

Each man had double-digit stolen bases last season; Jones swiped 14 bags, Beavers 10. Their all-around games helped them land spots on the collegiate national team.

That team typically would go against international competition, but because of the pandemic, it instead played 11 intrasquad games spread over North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“I think it really slows the game down when we get back here,” Beavers said. “The game definitely felt a little bit faster out there … with that competition.”

Said Jones: “It was just a great learning experience.”

Part of that learning process for Jones was getting to know Beavers better.

“We’re very different people,” Jones said. “He’s kind of a guy that just leads by example and goes about his work in a more quiet manner than I do. I’m more out there a little bit with the way I go about baseball and just the way I do things.

“We’re different, but I think our game plays very similar.”

Jones might be a tad more polished than Beavers. Beavers, though, owns a size advantage — he’s listed at 6-foot-4, 206 pounds, and Jones is listed at 6-foot, 197 — and possesses a better arm, which Jones acknowledged.

“He’s got me beat there a little bit,” Jones said, smiling.

There’s one other difference regarding their arms: Beavers throws right-handed, Jones throws left-handed. Jones plays center field. Beavers has played center but likely will play in right this season.

Jones and Beavers did share similarly unimpressive starts to their college careers in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Jones, who’s from Fresno, went 13-for-57 (.228) with one homer. Beavers, who’s from Paso Robles, went 7-for-28 (.250) with one homer.

Jones came to Stanford as a two-sport athlete. He was a defensive back who spent time on special teams as a freshman in 2019. That stint playing football (Jones no longer does) likely slowed his growth as a baseball player, but it didn’t prevent Esquer from seeing the potential Jones possessed.

Esquer referred to a moment in Jones’ freshman season. “I remember pulling him over to the side and I said, ‘Hey, Brock. Just so you know: You are never coming out of a game. And I don’t care how bad you play … unless you need a mental day off, you’re playing every game because we’re going to need you down the line.’”

Neu recruited Beavers as both a pitcher and a position player. Neu quickly realized how productive Beavers could be at the plate and in the outfield.

Cal's Dylan Beavers hit 18 home runs as a sophomore last season.

Cal’s Dylan Beavers hit 18 home runs as a sophomore last season.

Rob Edwards / KLC Fotos / Robert Edwards/KLC fotos

“He’s got unbelievable tools and skills,” Neu said, “but his work ethic and the way he goes about it every day (have) been so great for us.

“I think he’s still scratching the surface of how good he can be. And every time he gets at-bats and gets a chance to play, he continues to get better and better.”

The college baseball season begins Friday. Esquer said Bay Area fans are “pretty blessed to have both (Beavers and Jones) to watch because they’ll not only get a chance to watch them play college baseball, but they’re eventually going to be able to get a chance to watch both of them play major-league baseball if things go (well) and they stay healthy.”

Steve Kroner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: skroner@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SteveKronerSF

Cal outfielder Dylan Beavers and Stanford outfielder Brock Jones put together similarly excellent seasons in 2021:

Player

Games

Avg.

HRs

RBIs

SBs

Beavers

55

.303

18

49

10

Jones

56

.311

18

62

14