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SoxProspects News

November 19, 2007 at 8:00 AM

12 Questions with Mike Jones

SoxProspects recently traded questions and answers with Red Sox minor league slugger Mike Jones. Mike impressed with the bat in 2007, hitting .319/.412/.416 in stints with Lowell and Greenville. Look for Mike to start the 2008 season with Lancaster or Greenville.

SP: You’re a big dude. Did you ever play any football or are you strictly a baseball guy? Were you scouted all out of high school for baseball or other sports?
MJ: Actually in high school I was a full time basketball player. I played basketball 3 quarters of the year. Baseball was secondary.

SP: You were selected by the Red Sox as a draft-ad-follow in 2004. What was it like going through the uncertainty and playing the next season at the JuCo level?
MJ: Well it uncertainty did not really bother me too much. If anything the fact that I was drafted gave more confidence in myself.

SP: Early on in your career, you played some OF and some 1B. When was the decision finally made that you would play 1B exclusively, and what kind of say did you have in that decision?
MJ: Well when I stopped playing basketball after my senior season in high school, I started to gain weight. I was signed as an outfielder a but when I saw the competition defensively in the outfield, I kind of figured that 1B would be a better fit for me. So I guess you could say I requested to play 1st as a secondary position. It ultimately became my primary position

SP: What other types of adjustments did you work on in the Gulf Coast League in 2005 and 2006?
MJ: I was just really raw when I signed, so basically just learning to play the game of baseball as whole. Basic fundamentals was my biggest focus in the Gulf Coast League.

SP: You were promoted to Lowell for the Futures at Fenway in 2006, and seemed to almost immediately become a fan favorite. How was the experience stepping up to the plate at Fenway last year?
: To be honest I was scared out of my mind! It was kind of a big transition going from the GCL playing in front of 4 fans, to playing in front of 30,000 fans. I let my nerves get the best of me but it was a good experience that I will take with me the rest of my life.

SP: Every time I see you play at least one fan’s got a sign “Who’s Mike Jones?” Do you embrace it or are you trying to re-invent who Mike Jones is on your own terms?
MJ: I love the fans. The more they are in the game the more of a rush it is. I embrace every bit of it.

SP: What have been some key areas of development that the Red Sox organization has stressed with you this season?
MJ: Before the season ended I sat down with Mike Hazen and asked him exactly what I needed to do in the off-season, he basically said to get better physically and defensively. Those are the two things that stand in my way.

SP: We ask it every interview – give us a scouting report on yourself. How’s your approach at the plate feeling? Making strides in the field? What areas do you feel are your strengths and what areas need improvement? How’s the conditioning coming along this year?
MJ: I am a big strong guy that lives and dies with the bat in hand. I feel that hitting is by far my best tool. My ability to hit for average and my power potential make me. As far approach at the plate, I just put my body in a good position to react to the ball. I generally look for the ball middle to the outer part of the plate and try to react in. Defense is an area definitely need to improve in on all levels. I can also be much better physically.

SP: If you had to pick one teammate at Lowell or Greenville who has impressed you most this season, who would it be?
MJ: I would have to go with Ryan Kalish and Matt Sheely. Kalish impacted the games at so many levels during his brief stint in Lowell. I also admire Matt Sheely for what he did this season. He had success in spite of irregular playing time and being jumped around the organization.

SP: You're only one step away from playing in Lancaster, just a short distance from your home town. What would it mean to you to play next season in Lancaster?
MJ: I always joke around with my mother saying she would probably lose her job if I played anywhere near home because she would skip work to try and go to my games. But I would love to be able to play in front of the people that help me get to where I am now. It would mean a lot to me.

SP: What is your plan for the off-season and how will you prepare yourself for Spring Training?
MJ: My plan this off season is to basically get better physically. I plan to do a lot of drills to improve my footwork as well as increase my quickness and flexibility

SP: What’s the first thing you did to begin the off-season?
MJ: Well the first thing I did was just hang out and enjoy my family. Just enjoy being around the people that I love.

Bonus Question: True or false: chicks dig the long ball.
: First and foremost chicks dig LEFTIES that hit the long ball