Pirates Prospect Interview: JaCoby Jones

After a red hot streak West Virginia Power shortstop JaCoby Jones has cooled a little bit. He is batting .256 in his last ten games with one home run. For the season Jones is hitting a solid .291 in 95 games with 16 home runs and 53 RBI. PiratesDugout.com caught up with the 22-year old former LSU standout recently.

PD – You were on a tremendous power surge at one point, what was happening for you during that peroid?

JJ – I was just seeing the ball well, letting my hands work and working with our hitting coach Keoni [De Renne]. I kinda changed my swing a little bit, dropped my hands down a little more. I had a huge leg kick and I changed that a little bit so I can see the offspeed a little better. Hopefully I can keep it up and continue to see the ball well.

PD – Talk about what you did with your swing?

JJ – I had a big leg kick and I had my hands up high and I kept fouling balls off. I lowered my hands and shortened my leg kick and I started to see the ball better. It is paying off and hopefully that will continue.

PD – That leg kick was something that you had in college. It really helped you for a time didn't it?

JJ – Yeah, I think it did. I went back to it my junior year and it helped me, but I still missed a lot of pitches and couldn't see the offspeed pitches real well. I worked with it a lot this year and the second half of the season it has paid off. I hope I can keep it up.

PD – You were an outfielder at LSU and you made the transition to shortstop. How has that gone for you?

JJ – Growing up I played shortstop my whole career, certainly in high school. Then I went to LSU and I played second base and then I played center field. I like playing the infield and I like playing the outfield, but if they want me at shortstop that's fine. I like shortstop, I played there my whole life. It's kind of like home for me again since I was a kid. I'm enjoying it, I'm going to keep working at it and getting better.

PD – You suffered a tough knee injury last year. How difficult was it to work your way back?

JJ – It was very tough on me because I've never been put out of a season like that. I got drafted and I was very excited to play and then suffered the injury and it was brutal being in a leg brace for six months and not being able to do anything. It helped me realize that I love the game and wanted to play.

PD – Are you pleased with what is happening in your first full season of professional baseball?

JJ – I think it's good. I had that knee injury last year that I suffered, so I was out for six months. It's holding up. I was kind of worried about that at the start of Spring Training, because I've never had a serious injury. I feel good, my body feels good. I love showing up to the field every day to play. It's my job, I love it.

PD – Talk about your approach at the plate.

JJ – I just try to get on base for the team and use my speed. That's what I try to do every game -- just try to hit the ball hard, use my hands and get on base for the team and put the guys behind me in a better situation.

PD – I know you are thinking about climbing the ladder in the system, do you try to keep that in the back of your mind and not think about it?

JJ – I try to stay focused , if the Pirates want me here then I'm going to try and do my best wherever I am and show my talent on the field and not care about getting called up. I'm just going to play my best like I always do and see what happens.

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