Jones Keeps Pressing Forward

Jonathan Jones is representative of an overall trend in the Blue Jays organization; the need for speed. Over the past 18 months, Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has made a number of moves to add speed to the organization and employ tactics to better utilize that speed.

Acquiring centerfielder Rajai Davis from Oakland – he of the 50 stolen bases in 2010 – was one move as was nabbing minor league speedster Anthony Gose after the Roy Halladay deal. New manager John Farrell has promoted aggressiveness on the base paths thus far this season.

Vancouver Canadians centre fielder Jonathan Jones is part of the speed movement. The University of Cal State Long Beach product has made a mockery of Northwest League pitching so far in this short season, swiping four bases in his first eight games.

"That's part of his game," Canadians hitting coach Dave Pano said. "We want to make sure he's going to do that."

In 25 games with Lansing this year, Jones stole a modest five bases but with only 86 at-bats over three months, Pano thinks it has more to do with inconsistent playing time more than anything else.

"The big thing is he needs to play everyday and he's going to do that here," said Pano. "We don't have a true centerfielder behind him. We have guys that can play there so he's probably going to be in there almost every day."

The fleet-footed Jones has done more than play since his arrival north of the border. Has has batted .476 over a five-game homestand against Yakima to open the year, totaling three doubles, a triple and three walks over that span.

"I'm just seeing the ball well and seeing it coming out of his hand," said Jones, a 29th round pick in 2010. "I'm clear in my mind, I'm not cloudy in the box. Everything is just right there, I'm in the moment. And when you're in the moment everything is going to work out."

Part of that has to do with the fact that Jones spent three months in Lansing playing – albeit sporadically – in real games rather than glorified practices in Extended Spring Training.

"They have a great coaching staff there [in Lansing]," Jones said. "When I wasn't playing a lot we would sit and talk about the game, talk about pitchers tendencies and working hard in the cages out there.

"I've just been working hard and it's been showing on the field. I have a lot of respect for the coaching staff and the job they do for players like me.

"Most of these guys have been down in Florida at extended spring and it gets a little monotonous but that (being at Lansing) will help us," Pano added.

Jones knows his path to the majors revolves around his speed and ability to get on base. The Jays have a host of outfielders at the upper levels of the minor leagues and the 21-year-old will have to distinguish himself in order to rise to the top.

So far, Pano likes what he sees.

"I had Jones a little bit last year, said the veteran hitting coach. "He's really simplified his swing a lot and he's got a great offensive plan when he goes up. Obviously he has good speed when he gets on the bases but his approach and his plan have been real good.

"Once in a while he gets a little pull crazy. That's the biggest thing we're working on is staying through the ball and staying to the middle of the field.

"He's not a home run guy, he's a doubles guy and that's they type of player he's going to have to be as he keeps moving up in the system."

Jones, who says he has yet to see a difference in pitching between the Midwest League and his new home in Vancouver, isn't upset at what amounts to a demotion. He's taking the advice the Lansing coaching staff gave him seriously.

"They (coaching staff) wished I could stay but they wanted what's best for me which is to play everyday. When I got here they said, ‘You have an opportunity to play every day, just keep doing what you've been doing at Lansing.' I took that to heart and just keep pressing forward."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAcquiring centerfielder Rajai Davis from Oakland – he of the 50 stolen bases in 2010 – was one move as was nabbing minor league speedster Anthony Gose after the Roy Halladay deal. New manager John Farrell has promoted aggressiveness on the base paths thus far this season.
\r\n
\r\nVancouver Canadians centre fielder Jonathan Jones is part of the speed movement. The University of Cal State Long Beach product has made a mockery of Northwest League pitching so far in this short season, swiping four bases in his first eight games.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's part of his game,\" Canadians hitting coach Dave Pano said. \"We want to make sure he's going to do that.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn 25 games with Lansing this year, Jones stole a modest five bases but with only 86 at-bats over three months, Pano thinks it has more to do with inconsistent playing time more than anything else.
\r\n
\r\n\"The big thing is he needs to play everyday and he's going to do that here,\" said Pano.\r\n\"We don't have a true centerfielder behind him. We have guys that can play there so he's probably going to be in there almost every day.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe fleet-footed Jones has done more than play since his arrival north of the border. Has has batted .476 over a five-game homestand against Yakima to open the year, totaling three doubles, a triple and three walks over that span.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just seeing the ball well and seeing it coming out of his hand,\" said Jones, a 29th round pick in 2010. \"I'm clear in my mind, I'm not cloudy in the box. Everything is just right there, I'm in the moment. And when you're in the moment everything is going to work out.\"
\r\n
\r\nPart of that has to do with the fact that Jones spent three months in Lansing playing – albeit sporadically – in real games rather than glorified practices in Extended Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\n\"They have a great coaching staff there [in Lansing],\" Jones said. \"When I wasn't playing a lot we would sit and talk about the game, talk about pitchers tendencies and working hard in the cages out there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've just been working hard and it's been showing on the field. I have a lot of respect for the coaching staff and the job they do for players like me.
\r\n
\r\n\"Most of these guys have been down in Florida at extended spring and it gets a little monotonous but that (being at Lansing) will help us,\" Pano added.
\r\n
\r\nJones knows his path to the majors revolves around his speed and ability to get on base. The Jays have a host of outfielders at the upper levels of the minor leagues and the 21-year-old will have to distinguish himself in order to rise to the top.
\r\n
\r\nSo far, Pano likes what he sees.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had Jones a little bit last year, said the veteran hitting coach. \"He's really simplified his swing a lot and he's got a great offensive plan when he goes up. Obviously he has good speed when he gets on the bases but his approach and his plan have been real good.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once in a while he gets a little pull crazy. That's the biggest thing we're working on is staying through the ball and staying to the middle of the field.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's not a home run guy, he's a doubles guy and that's they type of player he's going to have to be as he keeps moving up in the system.\"
\r\n
\r\nJones, who says he has yet to see a difference in pitching between the Midwest League and his new home in Vancouver, isn't upset at what amounts to a demotion. He's taking the advice the Lansing coaching staff gave him seriously.
\r\n
\r\n\"They (coaching staff) wished I could stay but they wanted what's best for me which is to play everyday. When I got here they said, ‘You have an opportunity to play every day, just keep doing what you've been doing at Lansing.' I took that to heart and just keep pressing forward.\"
\r\n
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