Jones records first four-hit night for Owlz

Angels No. 2 prospect goes 4-for-5, steals two bases, scores a run

Jahmai Jones is slashing .332/.414/.471 with a Pioneer League-leading 19 stolen bases. (Stephen Smith/Four Seam Images)

By Michael Avallone / | August 14, 2016 1:16 AM

A different way of looking at things has been the driving force behind Jahmai Jones' strong summer with Rookie-level Orem. That and a group of teammates he can't seem to compliment enough.

"I changed my mental approach as a hitter," the 19-year-old said. "I know my role more as a player on this team and I'm not trying to do more than I need to. I go out there and make sure I help this team and make sure I'm not trying to create something that doesn't need to be created. Just go out every time up and square up the ball." 

That outlook helped the Angels' No. 2 prospect again on Saturday night. He recorded his first career four-hit game, going 4-for-5 with a pair of stolen bases and a run scored in Orem's 5-1 win over Helena at Kindrick Legion Field.

A second-round pick in last year's Draft, Jones hit .244 in 40 games during his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League last season. Through 46 contests this year, the Georgia native is hitting .332 with a league-leading 49 runs scored and is tied with Idaho Falls' Nick Heath for the top spot with 19 steals. All of which adds up to Jones becoming one of the Angels' top prospects.

"I try not to think about that," he said. "It's a great honor to be a top prospect, but I can't think or harp on that. I have a job to do every day and if I'm worried about that sort of thing, I won't be able to play to my fullest. It's nice hearing stuff like that and there's an added responsibility. People look to you more as a leader, so I come out and play hard and not slack off. But it's truly a blessing and I'm very thankful for it."

The outfielder reached on an infield single to start the game and scored on Jose Rojas' double. He grounded a single to right field in his second at-bat, then singled again in the third before swiping his first of two bags. Jones popped out in the sixth but earned his fourth hit with a bunt single in the eighth. He stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by Helena catcher Nathan Rodriguez.

"I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates," Jones said. "We have a great group of guys that push me to work harder, just as I push them to do the same. It's a great relationship between teammates. Seeing them do well makes me want to do better.

"We want to win the championship and we all understand to do that we need to go out every night to make that a goal. It's been a great season for our team and me personally, but again, I need to give credit to my teammates, coaching staff and God. He's blessed me with the talent to play baseball like this every single day." 

Jones also adds that a strong offseason has been key to his 2016 success.

"It was amazing," he said. "Having connections to players on my team and others who had already been in pro ball allowed me an entire offseason to pick those guys' brains. Last year, I got my feet wet right out of high school, so I knew what I'd be getting into [this] season. I knew what to expect and I had a better understanding of what my day-to-day routine should be."

Fellow 2016 Draft pick Keith Grieshaber went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI in support of starter Travis Herrin (2-4). The 21-year-old right-hander allowed two hits and a walk with three strikeouts in five scoreless innings for his first win in eight starts.

Orem reliever Tyler Warmoth surrendered a run on three hits and a walk while fanning four in two innings before Greg Belton struck out two in two perfect frames.

Helena starter Emerson Gibbs (0-1) was charged with three runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts in four innings.

Michael Avallone is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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