Jones Makes Good First Impression

Lefty reliever Chris Jones, formerly with the Cleveland Indians organization, focused last offseason on getting in shape. He didn't do anything new this year even though it was to be his first in Double-A and his first season in the Braves' organization, and he ended it making a good first impression.

"I waited until about December, and then I started running a little bit and got a personal trainer. I worked out four to five times a week. It was a more of gain lean mass, trying to get your body fat in a good average, all the way up to throwing in spring training" Jones said.

"I didn't really do anything new, I just worked on getting my arm ready in Spring Training."

Jones, who spent three years at the A-ball levels, had a good go during his Spring Training session. His success helped build his confidence for the higher-level play.

"Spring Training was good. It was first time going up in the big game. It was really good, really successful. I just worked on trying to throw strikes and keep my arm healthy," he stated.

Mississippi pitching coach, Mike Alvarez, immediately noticed issues with Jones' pitching upon first arrival.

"Not knowing him at first, he worked out with us and it seemed like he was overthrowing a lot. He tried to do a lot," Alvarez said.

However, Alvarez noticed something about Jones early on that struck him as pretty useful, but unusual.

"He's very deceptive. He's not a high velocity guy, he's not a mid-90's arm strength guy, but when he stays within himself and lets things work for him he has a very unusual delivery," Alvarez said. "You know, there's a lot of legs and arms going everywhere.

"But, he creates a lot of deception. His velocity appears to be harder than what it is, and I'm not into physics so I can't tell you why. It just is. And he has that."

Jones may be a little unorthodox, but he is no exception to the roller-coaster experience of moving up a level.

"This was my first season in AA, so I'm learning. I had ups and downs," Jones said. "Now, I'm starting to get the hang of it, doing really good."

As far as the main difference from high-A ball to Double-A ball, Jones has no problem admitting that the hitters are a big challenge.

"Hitters here are more patient, more advanced. The strike zone is little bit smaller. And that's pretty much it."

Coach Alvarez can attest to Jones' journey to becoming a better baseball player.

"Being first year in an organization coming from a different organization maybe because of youth, not necessarily he was tying to do a little too much and impress so it sort of happened like that in the beginning of the season," Alvarez admitted.

"But, as the season has gone forward he's really mended that well. I think he has a better understanding now of how he delivers the ball and not to try to do a lot more where earlier in the year his fastball location was higher than what you'd like it to be, at times effective and at times not.

"And I want to say that a least a month ago, maybe a little bit more than that, he's kind of understood and really made a great adjustment to locate his fastball down in the zone, even if he misses with location at least its down in the zone. He's really come on good."

Jones' focus is on just being himself and pitching to the best of his abilities.

"Just not walking people and throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters, that helps so much," Jones exclaimed, "listen to my catchers and actually thinking about my pitches and not just throwing them," he said.

Jones has added something new to his game. He has another pitch and he hopes to perfect it throughout the course of the offseason.

"This season I added a cutter so I've been working on that a lot," he revealed. "It's worked out pretty well. I've been using it a lot in games, especially during the second half."

The new pitch may have something to do with his struggles, but just like every other player, he needs to be coached through them.

"When he's struggling his mechanics are such, they're unorthodox, so there is a tiny factor with him that's crucial as it is with everybody to be able to get the ball out of the glove sooner rather than later because once he picks up that leg he's gone," Alvarez said.

"He's going forward so, he's learned to monitor that rush to the plate and that adrenaline that they carry through the game when they compete. I think that's mainly his issue. And I think he's done good with it."

Jones is still most comfortable with his curveball, but he wants to have his cutter fully developed in order to help him be successful going forward.

"[I need to] just keep progressing with what I'm doing, working on my cutter to make it as good as other pitches, keep going in the right direction keeping my walks down and going after hitters," Jones stated.

If Jones stays focused and keeps heading the right direction, there will be no limit to how high he climbs. Coach Alvarez understands what it takes for these guys to reach their ultimate goal.

"We don't really know how good they can be…it's more as they mature on the baseball field and have a better understanding of what they're capable of doing within those parameters vs. going outside on any given day," Alvarez said.

"I think the sky's the limit for each and everyone of them. It depends on which roles and the needs of the club. Jones has the ability to pitch not only to left-handers, he's got good assortment of pitches for them, but also right-handers," the coach added.

"Hopefully you expect to see me in the big leagues one day, that's the ultimate goal, to keep progressing and keep striding to get to the big leagues and [keep] working hard," Jones concluded.


Atlanta Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I waited until about December, and then I started running a little bit and got a personal trainer. I worked out four to five times a week. It was a more of gain lean mass, trying to get your body fat in a good average, all the way up to throwing in spring training\" Jones said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't really do anything new, I just worked on getting my arm ready in Spring Training.\"
\r\n
\r\nJones, who spent three years at the A-ball levels, had a good go during his Spring Training session. His success helped build his confidence for the higher-level play.
\r\n
\r\n\"Spring Training was good. It was first time going up in the big game. It was really good, really successful. I just worked on trying to throw strikes and keep my arm healthy,\" he stated.
\r\n
\r\nMississippi pitching coach, Mike Alvarez, immediately noticed issues with Jones' pitching upon first arrival.
\r\n
\r\n\"Not knowing him at first, he worked out with us and it seemed like he was overthrowing a lot. He tried to do a lot,\" Alvarez said.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, Alvarez noticed something about Jones early on that struck him as pretty useful, but unusual.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's very deceptive. He's not a high velocity guy, he's not a mid-90's arm strength guy, but when he stays within himself and lets things work for him he has a very unusual delivery,\" Alvarez said. \"You know, there's a lot of legs and arms going everywhere.
\r\n
\r\n\"But, he creates a lot of deception. His velocity appears to be harder than what it is, and I'm not into physics so I can't tell you why. It just is. And he has that.\"
\r\n
\r\nJones may be a little unorthodox, but he is no exception to the roller-coaster experience of moving up a level.
\r\n
\r\n\"This was my first season in AA, so I'm learning. I had ups and downs,\" Jones said. \"Now, I'm starting to get the hang of it, doing really good.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs far as the main difference from high-A ball to Double-A ball, Jones has no problem admitting that the hitters are a big challenge.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitters here are more patient, more advanced. The strike zone is little bit smaller. And that's pretty much it.\"
\r\n
\r\nCoach Alvarez can attest to Jones' journey to becoming a better baseball player.
\r\n
\r\n\"Being first year in an organization coming from a different organization maybe because of youth, not necessarily he was tying to do a little too much and impress so it sort of happened like that in the beginning of the season,\" Alvarez admitted.
\r\n
\r\n\"But, as the season has gone forward he's really mended that well. I think he has a better understanding now of how he delivers the ball and not to try to do a lot more where earlier in the year his fastball location was higher than what you'd like it to be, at times effective and at times not.
\r\n
\r\n\"And I want to say that a least a month ago, maybe a little bit more than that, he's kind of understood and really made a great adjustment to locate his fastball down in the zone, even if he misses with location at least its down in the zone. He's really come on good.\"
\r\n
\r\nJones' focus is on just being himself and pitching to the best of his abilities.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just not walking people and throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters, that helps so much,\" Jones exclaimed, \"listen to my catchers and actually thinking about my pitches and not just throwing them,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nJones has added something new to his game. He has another pitch and he hopes to perfect it throughout the course of the offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"This season I added a cutter so I've been working on that a lot,\" he revealed. \"It's worked out pretty well. I've been using it a lot in games, especially during the second half.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe new pitch may have something to do with his struggles, but just like every other player, he needs to be coached through them.
\r\n
\r\n\"When he's struggling his mechanics are such, they're unorthodox, so there is a tiny factor with him that's crucial as it is with everybody to be able to get the ball out of the glove sooner rather than later because once he picks up that leg he's gone,\" Alvarez said.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's going forward so, he's learned to monitor that rush to the plate and that adrenaline that they carry through the game when they compete. I think that's mainly his issue. And I think he's done good with it.\"
\r\n
\r\nJones is still most comfortable with his curveball, but he wants to have his cutter fully developed in order to help him be successful going forward.
\r\n
\r\n\"[I need to] just keep progressing with what I'm doing, working on my cutter to make it as good as other pitches, keep going in the right direction keeping my walks down and going after hitters,\" Jones stated.
\r\n
\r\nIf Jones stays focused and keeps heading the right direction, there will be no limit to how high he climbs. Coach Alvarez understands what it takes for these guys to reach their ultimate goal.
\r\n
\r\n\"We don't really know how good they can be…it's more as they mature on the baseball field and have a better understanding of what they're capable of doing within those parameters vs. going outside on any given day,\" Alvarez said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the sky's the limit for each and everyone of them. It depends on which roles and the needs of the club. Jones has the ability to pitch not only to left-handers, he's got good assortment of pitches for them, but also right-handers,\" the coach added.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hopefully you expect to see me in the big leagues one day, that's the ultimate goal, to keep progressing and keep striding to get to the big leagues and [keep] working hard,\" Jones concluded.
\r\n
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