Prospect: Jahmai Jones
Level: Advanced A Ball
Age: Entering Age 20 season in 2018.
Height: 6’0” – Weight: 220 lbs
Floor: Average starting outfielder in the major leagues.
Ceiling: 30/30 hitter (HR/SB) that wins a few Gold Gloves and is a perennial all-star.
Likely Outcome: 20/20 hitter that carves out a starting role in the major leagues for a decade.
Summary: Jones is probably the safest, most complete all-around prospect in the Angels system. There isn’t a ton of deviation between his ceiling and floor. He looks like a major leaguer. The comp Andrew Mccutcheon has been thrown around with Jahmai and while I’m also very hesitant to use these comps, this one is probably the best one you can build for Jones because it’s very accurate. Jahmai is going to be a decent hitter for average. I don’t think he’ll bat .300 but .280 is well within reason, and at age 19, he’s just begun to really tap into his power. There is a chance that around age 25 he takes another big step forward in the power department and starts blasting 30+ HR’s a year, but that just isn’t the sort of thing I or anyone else can predict with any sort of certainty.
Jamal will likely always be a good base runner. He has a quick first step, is very athletic and what I would call “instinctual.” He makes good decisions on the base path. This past season he was caught stealing more than expected, but I think that was mostly a product of Jahmai learning that he can’t simply steal second base at will despite increased speed. He’s a good base stealer but hasn’t yet learned how to become a very good one. Because Jahmai is as thick as he is in the bottom half, there’s also the chance that he becomes more of a power hitter than a base stealer, but that would require an very unexpected growth spurt and again, is not the sort of thing anyone can predict.
More than likely, Jahmai becomes a very pleasant combination of speed and power with decent contact and on base ability.
Defensively, Jahmai is fearless. When he first began in the minors, his routes in the outfield needed some work. He was more of an athlete than an instinctual defender. But he would close on fly balls and sacrifice his body if necessary to make the catch. While Jahmai still has that “all out” streak in him, he’s become a very precise route runner. He’ll make difficult catches look easy, in much the same way Mike Trout does. There’s something to be said about a player that always seems to have the right alignment and can cut a ball off before it reaches the gap. It rarely shows up on the highlight reel, but it’s one of those little things during the game that it seems many fans either take for granted or don’t notice. Jahmai’s arm is solid average and can work at any defensive position while his glove is very good.
Off the field, Jahmai has all of the intangibles that every team in baseball looks for. He’s a great teammate, a leader in the clubhouse, trains hard, is extremely coachable, media friendly and humble. It’s this combination of attributes that make Jahmai Jones the sort of player that is more likely to reach his ceiling than even some of his more talented peers (though admittedly, it’s quite difficult to be “more talented” than Jahmai, because he’s already in the upper echelon among athletes in the system).
And if that weren’t enough to make scouts drool over the idea of him trolling the outfield, Jahmai comes from strong bloodlines. His dad Andre was a professional football player. So is his brother T.J., for the Detroit Lions. His brother Malachi was a well known college football player as well. Even his godfather is Rocket Ismael. Jahmai himself was an all-state wide receiver as a sophomore in high school.
As I said, Jahmai Jones is the complete package as far as prospects go. He checks every box you look for if you’re scouting a kid. He’ll be a good major leaguer. The only question is really if he’ll be good, very good or great.
What to expect: Jahmai got really comfortable at Inland Empire last year. As the season wore on he began to put a charge into the ball and run the bases more aggressively. So I don’t anticipate the Angels putting him back there even though he spent only half the season in the Cal League. I suspect we’ll see Jahmai start the year in AA Mobile as a 20 year old, which is outstanding. Still three years ahead of the age curve which more than you can ask for from any prospect. If the Angels do send Jahmai back to Inland Empire I’ld be shocked, but such conservative placement isn’t out of the ordinary. But most specifically, I’ll be watching for Jahmai to get himself into good hitting counts and not chase quality breaking balls in the dirt the way that many young prospects do when first introduced to AA.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 2020, Jam’s age 22 season.
Grade as a prospect: A-
Grades Explained: Grade A player is a future superstar. Grade B player is a future regular. Grade C is a fringe major leaguer.