2006 Off-Season Q&A: Desmond Jones

Most fans know about the obvious names on the GCL Nationals' roster such as first round draft pick, Colton Willems. Who they may not know much about are intriguing, high upside arms like 20-year-old righty, Desmond Jones. We recently caught up with the hard throwing reliever for an in-depth Q&A session.

CapitolDugout.com: First of all, what are your overall feelings about your first taste of professional baseball?

Desmond Jones: I felt like professional baseball is where I should be. I really can't see myself doing anything else because I have so much love for the game.

CapitolDugout.com: You didn't get a lot of innings in the GCL this year. Were you battling an injury or was it just a matter of other pitchers need innings as well?

Desmond Jones: Well I had strained a shoulder muscle doing a work out like a couple days before the season opened up and it put me out for a week, but that's it. The main reason why I didn't get many innings is because we had a relief pitching staff of somewhere around 15 so it was hard to get an appearance on a consistent basis because everyone has to get there time up there.

CapitolDugout.com: You worked out of the bullpen in the GCL. Is that something you did in college and how do you like that role?

Desmond Jones: Well I went to college for one year and that's when I first started coming out of the bullpen. But, I was the closer then. I like it but I wasn't really used to it because I was a starter all my life before college. I knew how to relax more when I was starter because I knew I was going to be in the game for another 6 innings. This past year I just didn't relax while I was out there. I was trying to do too much.

CapitolDugout.com: Going back the draft, what were your expectations? Did you know the Nationals were interested and were you surprised at all by when you were picked?

Desmond Jones: I kind of knew I was going to get drafted. I just didn't know if it was in the top ten or top twenty rounds. It was either between the Nationals or the Dodgers. I was really surprised because I thought I was going to be a top seven rounder but I wasn't. But, I just thank God. I made my all time dream come true.

CapitolDugout.com: Have the Nationals given you any kind of indication as to how they feel about you and your future?

Desmond Jones: I talked to the manager (Bobby Henley) toward the end of the season and he said "Jones, you have a plus fastball and a plus breaking ball. The only thing you should worry about is clearing your mind and just going out and pitching like you know how." Also the scout who signed me talked to me the other day and he talked to some people and he said they really like me. I don't know who he talked to though.

CapitolDugout.com: You mentioned your fastball and breaking ball. Could you go over your complete repertoire?

Desmond Jones: When I became a closer I was a fastball and slider pitcher. But, when I come back I'm throwing a fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a cut-fastball. The last two pitches I can throw but I just figured a closer just needs the first two pitches and they worked. My fastball sits at 92-94 MPH and touches 95 MPH. My slider is 79-82 MPH. The cut-fastball was clocked in high school around 88 MPH. And, my changeup is about 80 MPH.

CapitolDugout.com: Is there a big league pitcher you think you are comparable to in terms of how you pitch?

Desmond Jones: Definitely K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez, on the Angels because of his live arm and his lights out breaking ball.

CapitolDugout.com: Do you believe that closing is where the Nationals see you pitching long term?

Desmond Jones: Yeah, I think that if [Chad] Cordero can be a successful closer, I can too.

CapitolDugout.com: What are some of the most important improvements you'd like to make heading into next season?

Desmond Jones: Just getting my legs and core stronger and becoming a strike throwing machine and getting my fastball into the high-90's. I'd like to get it up to around 96-97 MPH. And, I know I can do it.

CapitolDugout.com: What do you think was the most important lesson you learned about pitching since you joined the organization?

Desmond Jones: I learned that the ones who make adjustments are the ones who succeed in pitching and just in professional baseball period.

CapitolDugout.com: What specific goals do you have for next spring, such as what team you'd like to break camp?

Desmond Jones: I believe that if I do what I do, it's up to them where they want me, but don't want to be any lower than low-A. With my mentality, I think I could go to Double-A and be lights out if you ask me.

CapitolDugout.com: Switching gears a for a moment, which other pitcher impressed you the most from the GCL Nationals and why?

Desmond Jones: Well, my boy Adam Carr really impressed me because he struggled a little at the beginning but really turned it on towards the end of the season and that got him to Savannah. He can also swing the bat and then come in throwing mid-90's with his fastball.

CapitolDugout.com: As far as hitters, who else impressed you and why?

Desmond Jones: Stephen Englund made big adjustments at the plate. Robert Jacobsen and Sean Rooney hit the ball very well toward the end of the year. The other catcher, Jhonatan Solano hit the ball well until he had knee surgery with about 12 games left.

CapitolDugout.com: For a Nationals fan who would like to know more about you, what type of pitcher should they envision when they think about you?

Desmond Jones: From what they tell me, they should see a solid 6-foot-2, 210lb frame with a 94-96mph fastball, a plus slider, and a plus changeup. And, I'm a strikeout pitcher.

Capitol Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nCapitolDugout.com: First of all, what are your overall feelings about your first taste of professional baseball?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I felt like professional baseball is where I should be. I really can't see myself doing anything else because I have so much love for the game.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You didn't get a lot of innings in the GCL this year. Were you battling an injury or was it just a matter of other pitchers need innings as well? \r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Well I had strained a shoulder muscle doing a work out like a couple days before the season opened up and it put me out for a week, but that's it. The main reason why I didn't get many innings is because we had a relief pitching staff of somewhere around 15 so it was hard to get an appearance on a consistent basis because everyone has to get there time up there.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You worked out of the bullpen in the GCL. Is that something you did in college and how do you like that role?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Well I went to college for one year and that's when I first started coming out of the bullpen. But, I was the closer then. I like it but I wasn't really used to it because I was a starter all my life before college. I knew how to relax more when I was starter because I knew I was going to be in the game for another 6 innings. This past year I just didn't relax while I was out there. I was trying to do too much.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Going back the draft, what were your expectations? Did you know the Nationals were interested and were you surprised at all by when you were picked?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I kind of knew I was going to get drafted. I just didn't know if it was in the top ten or top twenty rounds. It was either between the Nationals or the Dodgers. I was really surprised because I thought I was going to be a top seven rounder but I wasn't. But, I just thank God. I made my all time dream come true.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Have the Nationals given you any kind of indication as to how they feel about you and your future?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I talked to the manager (Bobby Henley) toward the end of the season and he said \"Jones, you have a plus fastball and a plus breaking ball. The only thing you should worry about is clearing your mind and just going out and pitching like you know how.\" Also the scout who signed me talked to me the other day and he talked to some people and he said they really like me. I don't know who he talked to though.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You mentioned your fastball and breaking ball. Could you go over your complete repertoire?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: When I became a closer I was a fastball and slider pitcher. But, when I come back I'm throwing a fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a cut-fastball. The last two pitches I can throw but I just figured a closer just needs the first two pitches and they worked. My fastball sits at 92-94 MPH and touches 95 MPH. My slider is 79-82 MPH. The cut-fastball was clocked in high school around 88 MPH. And, my changeup is about 80 MPH.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Is there a big league pitcher you think you are comparable to in terms of how you pitch?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Definitely K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez, on the Angels because of his live arm and his lights out breaking ball.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Do you believe that closing is where the Nationals see you pitching long term?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Yeah, I think that if [Chad] Cordero can be a successful closer, I can too.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: What are some of the most important improvements you'd like to make heading into next season?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Just getting my legs and core stronger and becoming a strike throwing machine and getting my fastball into the high-90's. I'd like to get it up to around 96-97 MPH. And, I know I can do it.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: What do you think was the most important lesson you learned about pitching since you joined the organization?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I learned that the ones who make adjustments are the ones who succeed in pitching and just in professional baseball period.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: What specific goals do you have for next spring, such as what team you'd like to break camp?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I believe that if I do what I do, it's up to them where they want me, but don't want to be any lower than low-A. With my mentality, I think I could go to Double-A and be lights out if you ask me.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Switching gears a for a moment, which other pitcher impressed you the most from the GCL Nationals and why?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Well, my boy Adam Carr really impressed me because he struggled a little at the beginning but really turned it on towards the end of the season and that got him to Savannah. He can also swing the bat and then come in throwing mid-90's with his fastball.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: As far as hitters, who else impressed you and why?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Stephen Englund made big adjustments at the plate. Robert Jacobsen and Sean Rooney hit the ball very well toward the end of the year. The other catcher, Jhonatan Solano hit the ball well until he had knee surgery with about 12 games left.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: For a Nationals fan who would like to know more about you, what type of pitcher should they envision when they think about you?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: From what they tell me, they should see a solid 6-foot-2, 210lb frame with a 94-96mph fastball, a plus slider, and a plus changeup. And, I'm a strikeout pitcher.\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\nCapitolDugout.com: First of all, what are your overall feelings about your first taste of professional baseball?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I felt like professional baseball is where I should be. I really can't see myself doing anything else because I have so much love for the game.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You didn't get a lot of innings in the GCL this year. Were you battling an injury or was it just a matter of other pitchers need innings as well? \r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Well I had strained a shoulder muscle doing a work out like a couple days before the season opened up and it put me out for a week, but that's it. The main reason why I didn't get many innings is because we had a relief pitching staff of somewhere around 15 so it was hard to get an appearance on a consistent basis because everyone has to get there time up there.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You worked out of the bullpen in the GCL. Is that something you did in college and how do you like that role?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Well I went to college for one year and that's when I first started coming out of the bullpen. But, I was the closer then. I like it but I wasn't really used to it because I was a starter all my life before college. I knew how to relax more when I was starter because I knew I was going to be in the game for another 6 innings. This past year I just didn't relax while I was out there. I was trying to do too much.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Going back the draft, what were your expectations? Did you know the Nationals were interested and were you surprised at all by when you were picked?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I kind of knew I was going to get drafted. I just didn't know if it was in the top ten or top twenty rounds. It was either between the Nationals or the Dodgers. I was really surprised because I thought I was going to be a top seven rounder but I wasn't. But, I just thank God. I made my all time dream come true.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Have the Nationals given you any kind of indication as to how they feel about you and your future?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I talked to the manager (Bobby Henley) toward the end of the season and he said \"Jones, you have a plus fastball and a plus breaking ball. The only thing you should worry about is clearing your mind and just going out and pitching like you know how.\" Also the scout who signed me talked to me the other day and he talked to some people and he said they really like me. I don't know who he talked to though.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: You mentioned your fastball and breaking ball. Could you go over your complete repertoire?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: When I became a closer I was a fastball and slider pitcher. But, when I come back I'm throwing a fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a cut-fastball. The last two pitches I can throw but I just figured a closer just needs the first two pitches and they worked. My fastball sits at 92-94 MPH and touches 95 MPH. My slider is 79-82 MPH. The cut-fastball was clocked in high school around 88 MPH. And, my changeup is about 80 MPH.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Is there a big league pitcher you think you are comparable to in terms of how you pitch?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Definitely K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez, on the Angels because of his live arm and his lights out breaking ball.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Do you believe that closing is where the Nationals see you pitching long term?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Yeah, I think that if [Chad] Cordero can be a successful closer, I can too.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: What are some of the most important improvements you'd like to make heading into next season?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Just getting my legs and core stronger and becoming a strike throwing machine and getting my fastball into the high-90's. I'd like to get it up to around 96-97 MPH. And, I know I can do it.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: What do you think was the most important lesson you learned about pitching since you joined the organization?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I learned that the ones who make adjustments are the ones who succeed in pitching and just in professional baseball period.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: What specific goals do you have for next spring, such as what team you'd like to break camp?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: I believe that if I do what I do, it's up to them where they want me, but don't want to be any lower than low-A. With my mentality, I think I could go to Double-A and be lights out if you ask me.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: Switching gears a for a moment, which other pitcher impressed you the most from the GCL Nationals and why?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Well, my boy Adam Carr really impressed me because he struggled a little at the beginning but really turned it on towards the end of the season and that got him to Savannah. He can also swing the bat and then come in throwing mid-90's with his fastball.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: As far as hitters, who else impressed you and why?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: Stephen Englund made big adjustments at the plate. Robert Jacobsen and Sean Rooney hit the ball very well toward the end of the year. The other catcher, Jhonatan Solano hit the ball well until he had knee surgery with about 12 games left.\r\n

\r\nCapitolDugout.com: For a Nationals fan who would like to know more about you, what type of pitcher should they envision when they think about you?\r\n

\r\nDesmond Jones: From what they tell me, they should see a solid 6-foot-2, 210lb frame with a 94-96mph fastball, a plus slider, and a plus changeup. 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