Connor Jones may not be a name that most St. Louis Cardinals fans are following closely, but they certainly should. Drafted back in the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Jones has been flying under the radar in the Cardinals’ organization. He has been putting together a solid 2018 season for the AA Springfield Cardinals and is worth a closer look.
Throughout the 2018 season thus far, Jones has started four games and pitched in five. He has recorded a 2-0 record to go along with a 4.08 ERA. Many project him to end up in the bullpen, but for now, he is being used as a starter.
Jones is projected to move through the Cardinals’ system quickly and could make a Major League debut at some point in the next year or two. He is known as a strong strike thrower with a strong sinker.
Throughout the 26 games he has started and 41 games he has pitched for the Cardinals’ organization in his career, Jones has posted an 11-5 record with a 3.90 ERA. Those numbers are more than respectable and for those who haven’t heard much about him, this is your chance.
Inquisitr was able to sit down for an exclusive interview with Jones. Many different topics were discussed and this is must-read material for any St. Louis fan.
First up, we asked him what his time with the Cardinals has been like for him over the past few years.
“It’s been great so far, everything I’ve learned from all the coaches has been such a help for me. We have a ton of great players who I have learned a lot from as well. But I really appreciate everything that the staff and instructors do because they have been amazing.”
Next up, he talked about what his goals were coming into the 2018 season.
“I had some pretty clear goals this offseason and I worked like crazy to attack them. I wanted to get better against lefties, and in order to do that I worked on really refining my fastball command and to continue to improve and gain confidence in my changeup.”
He also talked about how he feels his season has gone so far and what his goals for the remainder of the year are.
“Well, I missed a couple weeks this season after I tweaked my oblique, so the beginning was kind of out of whack. But I had a great spring training and great offseason of work so I’m confident about this year. I was really happy with my last start as I continue to build my pitch count back to normal. My only real goals are quick outs and less walks.”
Jones also was willing to share what he thinks his biggest strengths and weaknesses are at this point in his career.
“I think my biggest strengths are the ability to get ground balls and quick outs. And last year I felt like lefties were my weakness but after this past offseason I can say that is no longer the case.”
For those who are interested in which pitcher Jones thinks he compares to, he was happy to share his opinion.
“It’s something that I’ve always looked to do, but it’s hard because I’m such a sinker groundball type guy, and I could be wrong but I feel like there just aren’t too many of those guys in the big leagues right now, at least as starters. But, I would have to say Derek Lowe. I have watched a fair amount of his film this year. He’s one of the most recent pure groundball guys that I can think of and I used to watch him growing up. I just think it’s important to know what you’re good at and what you can and can’t do. I’ve got no business trying to model my game after Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander, my fastball is the complete opposite of theirs.”
We then talked about which team Jones grew up being a fan of and who his favorite player was.
“Boston Red Sox, my favorite player at the time was a Nomar Garciaparra and I remember being heartbroken when he was traded when I was a little kid. Once I got a little older and could really understand some of the game and remember it, it was probably David Ortiz.”
If you’re a young pitcher with goals of playing professionally, Jones has some advice for you.
“I would say seek the best coaching you can find, always do your research, and do your homework. But if you find the right coach it can be a great great thing for you. And also to always remember that typically you are your best coach, listen to yourself, if your motions feel a little out of sync, they probably are. You have to be a good self-evaluator and problem solver.”
Finally, Jones left a message for the fans.
“I really enjoy the fans. Cardinals fans have been amazing in my experiences so far! Regardless if we are at home at Hammons Field or on the road. I love getting to interact with them and I think the media is a great tool for that. So don’t hesitate to say hey!”
Make sure to continue following Jones as he progresses forward this season. St. Louis has a very talented pitcher coming up through their system and it’s time that he receives the publicity that he deserves.