During his time as a player and manager in the professional ranks, Lou Marson has watched some of baseball's top talent develop. But the Double-A Mobile skipper believes prospects develop best in twos.
With that in mind, top Angels prospect Jo Adell has helped bring out the best in fourth-ranked Jahmai Jones, who played a starring role Saturday night.
Video: Mobile's Jones knocks RBI triple
Jones led a high-flying offense with a triple and a pair of doubles, driving in three runs and scoring twice as the BayBears pounded Pensacola, 14-2, at Hank Aaron Stadium.
The duo first crossed paths early this season when Adell was promoted to Class A Advanced Inland Empire, with Jones still adjusting to his new position at second base. Adding another big bat to the lineup helped boost the 2015 second-round pick's batting average after dipping toward .200.
After Jones moved up to Mobile July 10, he experienced a similar adjustment period before Adell joined him again three weeks later. Since then, Jones is 16-for-46 (.348) to get his Southern League average up to .262.
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"It's awesome that they brought Jo up for them to play and develop together. That's what organizations should do," Marson said. "When you have an opportunity to have some of your top prospects play together and develop together and move up together, they learn how to win together. That makes for a successful organization and a successful Major League team in the future."
Jones knocked a leadoff double to center field in the first inning and scored on a double by Adell as the BayBears grabbed a 4-0 lead. After grounding out in the second, the 21-year-old plated Riley Unroe with a triple to center in the fourth. In the sixth, he doubled to left, scoring Mitch Ghelfi. With Adell at the plate, Jones stole third and trotting home on another two-base hit by MLB.com's No. 16 overall prospect.
Jones added a sacrifice fly to right in the seventh, then reached again in the eighth on an error by shortstop Taylor Featherston that allowed Zach Gibbons to score.
The variety of ways he can get on base, coupled with Adell's skills behind him in the lineup, have helped Marson see Jones' potential.
"He gets on and he's a threat to steal. He can go from first to third or score from first on a ball in the gap," the manager said. "It's nice having him be able to hit and get on, and when Jo can put it in the gap, we can get on the board early.
"And he's not a typical leadoff guy and trying to work the count. He's going up and being aggressive and looking for pitches he can drive and barrel."
Jones is at his best when he's loose on the field and in the dugout, but moving from the outfield to second base has brought its challenges. Marson said his progress at the plate has fed into his defensive development.
"Once he starts rolling with a couple hits, he can start to relax and be athletic and play his game," Marson said. "Once the game starts, he's going out and having fun and trying to play loose and free and just letting it happen. He can be really hard on himself, but it's nice to see him relax and let it all out for show."
Adell doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored once. Gibbons contributed three hits and scored three times, while Unroe plated three runs and scored twice on a two-hit night.
Jason Alexander (1-5) picked up his first Southern League win, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five over five innings.