The Orioles and Jahmai Jones. It’s a perfect match according to the Birds’ new prospect.
"I definitely think that I’m a good fit in this organization and the team around me already, it’s been great," he said from spring training in Sarasota, Fla.
The 23-year-old was acquired from the Angels earlier this month in exchange for veteran pitcher Alex Cobb. Jones had his success in the minors and made his Major League debut for L.A. last year - three games, three hits in seven at-bats. Drafted in 2015 as an outfielder, he transitioned to second base three years ago.
"I definitely feel comfortable at second base and if that’s where they see my role being, I love it and I’m excited for it," said Jones.
"He’s got big tools," said Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde. "He’s really athletic, moves well. Now it’s just learning the position. He’s continuing his improvement at second base."
That athleticism Hyde speaks about is in Jones’ blood. His father Andre and brothers T.J. and Malachi played professional football. That was the path Jahmai was on as well, growing up in Georgia, until high school when he decided to focus solely on baseball.
"I just felt like if I were to play football I would constantly be compared to my brothers. I felt like my identity would kind of get lost in the mix," he said. "People in my community didn’t agree with it. They didn’t see why I was doing this and I didn’t really care."
His family was on board and that’s all that mattered to Jahmai, who is now on the verge of becoming an every-day big leaguer.
"Thankfully here I am. So, I think it paid off just a little bit so far," he said with a smile.
Jones isn’t a lock to make the Orioles roster out of spring training, former Gold Glove winner Yolmer Sanchez is most likely the opening day second baseman for the O's. But, Jones definitely figures into the future for the rebuilding Birds.