Angels Are In No Rush With Jones

ANAHEIMSome in the Angels organization thought Jahmai Jones could’ve started the season at low Class A Burlington.
Instead, the Angels chose to take it slow with the 18-year old outfielder and 2015 second-round pick.

“I’m definitely not saying he couldn’t have,” Angels farm director Mike LaCassa said, “but when you have a kid with his ceiling … where is he gonna be in three years? He doesn’t need to play his first full season at Burlington at 18.”

The Angels didn’t want to rush Jones, who turns 19 on Aug. 4. They kept him in extended spring training until dispatching him to Rookie-level Orem in mid-June.

It’s hard to argue with the decision. In his first 34 games, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Jones  hit .317.383/.462 with two homers, 11 doubles, 12 RBIs, 22 strikeouts and 12 walks in 145 at-bats and stole 10 bases in 13 attempts.

“He might not be the tallest, but he’s not little—he’s thick and strong,” LaCassa said. “He’s a plus runner. He’s going to have power. The ball jumps off his bat—his contact already makes a different sound than anyone around him.”

Jones, who signed for $1.1 million, is an explosive athlete with NFL bloodlines. One brother, T.J. Jones, is a wide receiver with the Detroit Lions, and another, Malachi, is a former Appalachian State receiver who recently signed with the Atlanta Falcons. The boys’ late father, Andre Jones, played two NFL seasons.

“He’s a very instinctive player who asks unbelievable questions,” LaCassa said. “He’s really a student of the game and very mature for an 18-year-old.”

Jones has also shown good plate discipline, with a 15.9 percent strikeout rate so far in his young career.

“Seeing tons of breaking balls for the first time and a lot of wild pitchers with big fastballs,” LaCassa said. “The average strikeout rate is 20-21 percent. … That was impressive.”


• First baseman Matt Thaiss, a first-round pick in June, was so impressive in 15 games at Orem (.338/.394/.569 in 65 at-bats) that he was promoted to Burlington.

• Second baseman Jordan Zimmerman, a seventh-round pick out of Michigan State, was also promoted to Burlington. after hitting .422/.478/.639 in 22 games at Orem.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone