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AngelsWin.com Today: AngelsWin.com Top 30 Prospects: #2 OF Jahmai Jones


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Prospect: Jahmai Jones                        Rank: 2

2015/16: 3                                                     Position(s): Outfield

Level: Class A Ball                                       Age: Entering Age 19 season in 2017.

Height: 6’0”                                                  Weight: 215 lb.

               Present – Future

Hitting Ability         40  55

Power                       40  55

Base Running         60  60

Patience                    40  55

Fielding                    50  60

Range                       60  60

Arm                           40  50

Overall                      45  60

Floor: Defensive specialist/4th outfielder in MLB/AAA. 

Ceiling: All-star caliber top or middle of the order hitter with gold glove level defense.

Likely Outcome: Above average starting outfielder and top of the order hitter in the major leagues.

Summary: Jahmai is a perfect example of what happens when a team drafts high upside players coming out of high school.  For such a long time under the Dipoto regime, the Angels focused on pitching, specifically collegiate pitching.  This approach netted the organization a dearth of back of the rotation starters and swingmen, and not much else.  The philosophy was that you can never have enough pitching, and prep hitters took too long to develop and were too big of a risk.  And while this is true in theory, in practice it actually means that you’ll never come away with game changing talent (this is normally the part where I’d say “Like Mike Trout”, except of course, there isn’t any player like Mike Trout).

The Angels spent over their bonus in the second round two years ago to bring in Jones, and ever since, he’s been wowing scouts with his blend of unique athleticism, understanding of the game and general personality and work ethic.

Jahmai has all the necessary physical tools to be a star someday.  He’s strong enough to develop into a power hitter, fast enough to steal 30 bases a year, athletic enough to implement adjustments on the fly, and smart enough to recognize real-time changes and play an instinctual game.  Jones’ older brother is a wide receiver in the NFL and his father was a standout football player at the University of Notre Dame.  Jones is still a raw player.  His mistakes aren’t so much mental as much as they’re related to experience versus top level play.  Though he can use the whole field, his power is almost exclusively pull side.  Defensively, he plays a solid CF and LF, though his arm plays up better in LF.

The Angels knew they had a good player on their hands entering last season, but upon reaching Orem, they experienced just how good of a player Jahmai is at such an early stage.  In 48 games, Jones hit .321/.404 with 12 doubles 3 triples 3 home runs and 19 stolen bases and a high amount of walks to go with a low amount of strikeouts.  Though this isn’t applicable, if Jones were to play a 150 game season, he would’ve been on pace for 36 doubles 9 triples, 9 homeruns and close to 60 stolen bases.  That’s the Pioneer League for you.

Once he was promoted for a short stint in A Ball, Jones had to face more refined pitching for the first time in his career. This resulted in a .242 batting average with a double, homer and a stolen base across 16 games.  It still was a solid performance though.  He clearly wasn’t over-matched by the competition, and he was beginning to make adjustments as the season concluded.

What to expect next season: Jones had a breakout season at Rookie Level Orem playing against competition that’s generally a few years older than he island his play warranted a late season promotion.  Unless Jones takes another giant step forward in a short amount time, I’d expect him to play at Class A Burlington for most of this season as a 19 year old.  This park, and the Midwest League in general suppresses offensive numbers, so don’t be surprised if Jones numbers don’t mirror those that he put up in the hitter friendly Pioneer League.  There’s a slight chance that could be bumped up to Advanced A Ball this season as a 19 year old, but I wouldn’t count on it. Even Mike Trout spent a full season in A Ball before being promoted (he played in Advanced A Ball in the playoffs that year).

Estimated Time of Arrival: 2021, as a 23 year old.

Grade as a prospect: B

Check out our interview with Jahmai Jones that was conducted over the summer of 2016.b.gif?host=thesportsdaily.com&blog=11432

Jahmai Jones Interview August 2016 from AngelsWin.com on Vimeo.

Angels outfielder Jahmai Jones interviews with AngelsWin.com.

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We went out on a limb here with Jones and ranked him second behind Matt Thaiss. Most other publications will rank him first, mostly because of his upside and age. We chose Thaiss simply because while he's two years older, he should only need one season in the minors and feel his likely outcome will be in the same value range as Jones.

Semantics though. Both Jones and Thaiss figure to be productive major leaguers and a big part of the Angels' future.

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13 minutes ago, Scotty@AW said:

We went out on a limb here with Jones and ranked him second behind Matt Thaiss. Most other publications will rank him first, mostly because of his upside and age. We chose Thaiss simply because while he's two years older, he should only need one season in the minors and feel his likely outcome will be in the same value range as Jones.

Semantics though. Both Jones and Thaiss figure to be productive major leaguers and a big part of the Angels' future.

Yeah, you could really go either way here. 

If anything, Thaiss is more of a sure bet to be a major leaguer, while Jones has more upside and a more all-around athlete possessing more tools.

I still liken Thaiss to a young Joey Votto (minus the wheels).  

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I pick Jones over Thaiss, mainly because I'm not sure that Thaiss will be anything more than a Trumbo/Cron type and hit maybe .280/.800, with 20 HR in the majors, which is only decent for a first baseman. Jones seems like he has a good chance of hitting .290/.800 with 15 HR and 30 SB, which with plus defense makes him a borderline star. I'm thinking Shane Victorino in a good year.

Now am I right in thinking that Marsh might have a slightly higher upside, but significantly greater bust potential?

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I liken Jones to Andrew McCutchen lite. Not quite the same power, but overall a very similar skill set.

From purely a statistical standpoint, I'd compare Thaiss to a few names, Hosmer, Freeman or Victor Martinez. They're all the type of 1B that are more known for doubles than HR's and hit for a good batting average.

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15 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Thaiss a young Joey Votto? That is a massive compliment, considering Votto is one of the three best hitters of the last decade (along with Trout and Cabrera). I hope you're right, but that might be a rather large overstatement.

 A young Joey Votto meaning, a young Joey Votto. You know, like when he was in the minors. Votto slashed .289/.385.476 in the minors, has a similar approach and stance at the plate. Most evaluators feel that he will hit for enough power to be a solid hitting 1B, while posting a very good OBP. 

Votto's first season (through 50 games) slashed .269/.342/.531, Thaiss slashed .292/.361/.462 through the same amount of games. 

BTW, Thaiss is nothing like C.J. Cron. Way more plate discipline, about the same amount of pop.

I'll take a .290-.300 BA, .360-.400 OBP hitting 1B that will get me 20-25 HR any day of the week. 

But like I said, Jones has more tools. But will the hit tool translate in the big leagues? If it does, we may have an All-Star. If it doesn't, we could be looking at a Cameron Maybin or at worst, a 4th outfielder known for his speed and defense late in the game off the bench.

 

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The Cron comparison was overall level of ability, not skill set - I realize they are quite different. But that's my worry with Thaiss: that he will be like Cron and Trumbo, meaning an average to above average hitting first baseman. A 110-120 wRC+ is great in the middle infield, but at first base it is rather pedestrian. That said, that seems to be his floor. Maybe his ceiling is more likely what you said: .290/.850, which would be very good.

McCutchen Lite sounds good.

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It's not just the talent that stands out with Jones. When I talked with all the coaches (both rival and Angels) about him and other players, they talked about his mental approach to the game as much as his tools. He was one of the youngest players at Orem, but was one of the most mature. I really enjoyed getting to meet him, and encourage all of you to head out to the IE66ers as soon as he's there to go see him play and to get to know him. Between him and Hermosillo, we will have a solid future in LF developed internally.

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2 minutes ago, Dave Saltzer said:

It's not just the talent that stands out with Jones. When I talked with all the coaches (both rival and Angels) about him and other players, they talked about his mental approach to the game as much as his tools. He was one of the youngest players at Orem, but was one of the most mature. I really enjoyed getting to meet him, and encourage all of you to head out to the IE66ers as soon as he's there to go see him play and to get to know him. Between him and Hermosillo, we will have a solid future in LF developed internally.

Yeah, between Jones, Hermosillo, Marsh, and even Thaiss if he's moved, we do have a lot of upside in the future OF.

I think even further down the list, someone like Troy Montgomery could come break in as a Kole Calhoun type. That kid is pretty good. 

And as far as 4th OF go, I think you can throw Bo Way or Chad Hinshaw out there and they wouldn't embarrass you. 

A ton of OF depth on the farm.

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