Jahmai Jones has been in the LA Angels system since 2015 after being drafted that year out of high school in Georgia. Now, at the age of 20, Jones has seen his value sky-rocket thanks to his intense work ethic and loaded toolset. After moving from the outfield to second-base rather effortlessly this past season (2018) it seems the only thing keeping Jones from breaking through the MLB ranks is time itself.
LA Angels Jahmai Jones Jones may have one of the best work ethics next to Jo Adell from any prospect throughout the Angels system. This isn’t to knock any other prospect because the Angels are absolutely loaded with tough-as-nails workers, but at the same times Jones is the type of athlete to lead others by example. You can see it in his pre-game ethics, his intense laser-beam focus, he’s one who never takes his eye off the ball. Even outside of a baseball game Jones is keeping his head in the game and eye on the ball, there’s no stopping for this kid. After his smooth as silk transition to second base from the outfield coming into the 2018 season it became blatantly obvious that Jahmai Jones is one of the best learners in the Angels system.
This isn’t to say that there wasn’t some form of struggle or a transitional period during his move from OF to 2B. In his first few weeks in the 2018 season there was a little bit of drag regarding him catching up to the position on a professional level, given he hadn’t played the position since high school. It didn’t take long at all for Jones to become accustomed to the angles, the throwing motions, and the timing of second base work. You can thank both his intense work ethic and the athleticism infused in his DNA for this ability to smash through learning curves. Jones brother and father both played in the NFL and so too did Jones play as a wide receiver.
Regarding his hitting, Jahmai Jones possesses a very quick bat that is primed for plus-contact, though he is known to deliver surprise pop here and there. In 2017 Jones hit 14 home runs throughout 578 total Plate Appearances at the young age of 19. Although the power numbers didn’t escalate in 2018 (dropped to 10 HR’s) he did show an increased aptitude for timely hitting, knocking in 55 RBIs (compared to 45 in 2017) in 36 less at-bats from 2017.
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Jones is also well regarded for his aggressive play which comes out fantastically on the base-paths but a little less so in the batters box. On the bases Jones is very capable of taking that extra base, he’s almost a prototypical 2000’s era styled Angels athlete. He’s a contact first guy who is keenly aware of when the extra base is available to go after and has no fears in taking that plunge. His base-stealing is becoming more and more effective as his development rolls on; in 2017 Jones stole 27 bases while being caught 13 times, yet in 2018 he nabbed 24 bases while only being caught three times. This all ultimately factors into his ability to score a multitude of runs, scoring 80 runs off 115 hits in 2018. Compared to his 2017 totals of 86 runs off 146 hits it might seem like a small dropback, yet given his lesser hit total in 2018 we can easily conclude that an equally productive hitting year could have seen him score close to, if not 100 runs.
His aggression in the batters box is something that needs to be tempered only because he has a strong tendency to strike out. As much as Jones loves to produce in the box sometimes he over-stretches himself with his desires for production. In 2018 Jones produced a K% of 20.4%, which is a little more than desired given his status as a contact/batting average type hitter. This rate is more standard for the home-run/powerball type hitter, so for a guy like Jones to be truly successful he is going to need to improve on staying within his personal zone. In 2017 Jones produced a K% of 20.5%, from this we can see an innate tendency to over-extend, something that will need to be tempered with priority.
One thing that cannot be stressed enough about Jones is his incredible work ethic, which in turn allows him to conquer any wall that presents itself to him. This is one of the more important tool that any baseball player can have, the ability to rise above occasion, and given that Jones has it in spades. Given all of his intangibles, and tangibles as well, there’s all the reason to believe Jones will bring great value to the Angels in the near future.
Developmental Needs: Plate Approach, Defensive Consistency
Best Tools: Makeup, Athleticism, Work Ethic, Base-running, Speed, Run Scoring Ability, Versatile, Adaptability
MLB ETA: 2020