LA Angels prospect Jahmai Jones is a Cal League All Star

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: The logo for the 2018 All Star Game is shown during a news conference at Nationals Park before the start of the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers game on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: The logo for the 2018 All Star Game is shown during a news conference at Nationals Park before the start of the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers game on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

With news that LA Angels prospect and current Inland Empire 66er, Jahmai Jones, was awarded an All-Star bid, Halo Hangout went to the home stadium of the 66ers to catch up with the young star.

Jones, the LA Angels #4 prospect is a special type of player, on and off the field, and speaking with him about his mentalities after being named an All-Star.

When it comes down to the game of developing talent it doesn’t matter if you have super-star potential or blue-collar ability, there’s always a point where that talent within isn’t all the way there. You can’t always predict the player, or players, that will still shine with the talent of a star while still grinding their way through the development process.

It could be anyone; that blue collar guy who’s taken to a swift development or the superstar playing light-years above the level of competition, but the fact is it isn’t seen too often around the High A level of baseball. Class A Advanced isn’t a spot people expect to see their young stars of the future tapping deeply into their potential; this is simply a rest stop where one makes sure they have the tools together to truly succeed at the higher level. Not just the higher level as in the Bigs, but the higher levels of Minor League baseball as well.

Then you have Jahmai Jones; a player considered a Top 5 prospect within the Angels system coming into the season, a player who puts his nose to the ground and grinds harder and harder each and every day on his trip to the Majors. And you know what? Even as he grinds away he’s still shining like a star.

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To see someone already playing with such success at the young developmental age of 20 at this level is inspiring. It’s always a pleasure watching the young stars of the future find the best of themselves and fully realize it, but to watch a player shine like a star while searching for a full realization of their abilities is one of the greater gifts of baseball.

With the mid-way point of the season on the horizon it came time to put together the All-Star team for the California League, in which the Inland Empire 66ers play, and on that list was Angels highly ranked prospect and 66ers second baseman: Jahmai Jones.

While there is still plenty of work left in his development it can’t be said enough how special of a player he is. His 2018 All-Star bid as an Inland Empire 66er, at the age of 20, is only the tip the iceberg for this young man.

Jahmai Jones #8

H.H: You started the month of June with a 6 game hit streak, 5 of those games being multi-hit efforts. How are you feeling with the progression of your swing?

Jones: It’s day to day, just making sure I handle the intangibles right. I’m making sure I come to the field prepared to succeed, and if I don’t I’ll figure out what I’m doing wrong and try to go from there to continue to bring success to this team and try to get these last 3 games so we can win the first half.

H.H: You’ve logged over 460 innings at 2nd base this season. Are you feeling your glove develop at the pace you expected?

Jones: I do, it’s been fun. It’s been a lot of fun playing over there at second. Finally getting used to all the cuts, reading the hops, making sure I just do the small things right. Continuing what we’ve been working on every day, day in and day out, and continuing to just let the process be the process.

H.H: Does your Cal League All-Star bid inspire confidence in your future as a developing Big Leaguer?

Jones: It does. Regardless of where you go you want to be an All-Star, but at the end of the day if I wasn’t an All-Star it wouldn’t have made a difference on how I felt about myself reaching the big leagues or not. I believe that I’m a good player regardless of the recognition or not. If I’m not playing well I still gotta believe that I’m doing the small things right, playing well and believing in myself.

Knowing that if I’m a Cal League All-Star it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be a big league All-Star; but at the same time if I’m not a Cal League All-Star it doesn’t mean I won’t reach the Big Leagues. I’m just trying to stay level-headed through everything. Being honored as an All-Star is a great accomplishment and I hope to continue to build on it.

Career MiLB Slash Line (Four Seasons): .274/.373/.418

Jahmai Jones may be finishing the first half of 2018 as an All-Star, yet that first half was only building blocks to something greater. That isn’t my own optimistic assumption, this idea comes from Jones himself. He understands the level-headedness that is needed in this game, the idea that you can’t get too caught up in your own ability or accomplishments in even the smallest way.

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Being an All-Star is wonderful, but that doesn’t define your season. It isn’t there to stamp your current success, but to remind you that your work is being noticed by the game itself. When that happens you can either say to yourself “Yeah, this is how it should be” or “Where can I go from here?”

You’ll find many players falling into one of those two categories; as much as we’d like to think they’re all humbled athletes who take the experience of playing and succeeding at the game of baseball in stride the fact is they’re all human and there’s going to be that percentile that believes they’re taking what they’re owed. That being said, it doesn’t diminish their accomplishments or ability in any way, yet seeing your star of the future being a star now and not letting it fluff him up brings worlds of encouragement regarding his future as an athlete.

There’s a certain kind of person that hunkers down and works harder when all eyes are on them and accolades are being awarded, and Jahmai Jones is that kind of person.

Career MiLB Power Totals: 26 HR’s, 127 RBI’s, 17 Triples, 56 Doubles

H.H: With the first half of the season about to wrap up, what aspects of your game have you zoned in on improving?

Jones: My overall mindset of the game. Continuing to stay positive, battle day in, day out. These last couple days before All-Star break are a grind. I’m making sure I can set myself up for success later down the road whether that be here, Double A, or wherever I may fall by the end of the season.

H.H: You’ve been teammates with two other top Angel prospects this season, Brandon Marsh and Jo Adell. What’s it like working and developing alongside those two as part of the trio many see as the Angels future?

Jones: It’s a great feeling; I’ve known Brandon since we were ten years old. We’ve been playing against each other for years. The two teams we played on were rival teams, we saw each other a lot in big games. It’s good to have a guy like that on your team, a guy that grinds day in and day out. A guy that lifts you up when you’re down and just wants the absolute best for you.

I met Jo last year, he’s a great guy. Unbelievable player, dudes got some serious talent. If you ever watch a game he’s gonna do something that wows you. He’s an unbelievable guy on and off the field. There’s nothing bad I can say about either of them. They’re two guys I believe will have a long future in the Big Leagues if they continue to work and progress how they are now. The sky’s the limit for them

H.H: Looking back at the first half of your 2018 season, what are some things that stand out to you?

Jones: Defense. Moving into a new position is not something everyone does in High A, usually you’d think that would happen somewhere before and sometimes it happens after. Going into the season I was making sure that I really focused on my defense and made sure I got second base down. Really making sure that I got second base down. I knew that I could possibly play there in the big leagues one day, knowing that I had to put all my effort into it. I’m glad my defense is where it’s at right now.

H.H: How do you prepare for a big event such as the All-Star Game?

Jones: Ahhhh, you don’t prepare for it. It’s something you go into just looking to have some fun, it’s an All-Star break for a reason. Just because you’re in the All-Star game doesn’t mean you have to freak out and get nervous. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to it. There’s a lot of good guys in that game; possible big league guys, possible big league superstars in that game. You just never know, I’m just gonna enjoy the moment and enjoy it while I have it.

Jahmai Jones #8

The All-Star game is one of those special gifts from the universe, one of those little treats to let you know that your hard work is being noticed and appreciated. When you play the game of baseball as well as Jahmai Jones, and with the humbled mentality he does, you’ll find yourself in the games good graces time and time again. We’ve all seen the beauty the game of baseball can bestow among its athletes, how good its graces can be when you give the game your all.

Baseball gives back, it always finds a way to return its fortune to those who work not only for the betterment of themselves and their teammates, but the game of baseball itself. When you play the game hard, and play it the right way the game will give to you. Jahmai Jones isn’t just a player that’s good for his team on the field, or just for the entire organization he plays for. He’s good for the game of baseball, because he plays the right way and he plays it hard.

Next: Jo Adell: A special talent

We’re already seeing the game giving back to him in form of this 2018 All-Star bid. This is just one of the small cookie crumbles on the way to not only the big show, but the biggest show of all. The World Series.

You put together an entire team that plays baseball with this mentality and you have yourself a championship team. The Angels already have that championship piece in tow with Jahmai Jones working his way to the top; and as long as he keeps playing the game the way he is it’s only a matter of time before he steps onto not just the Big Leagues, but the Big Stage.