Malik Jones‘ collegiate career took him to a few different spots, but after a solid season with Missouri Baptist this spring, Jones landed with the Oakland Athletics as their 23rd-round pick.
The right-hander began his pro career in the Arizona Rookie League, where he allowed two runs in five innings spread over two appearances. He joined the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters on July 8, and since then, he has appeared in nine games, including one as a starter. Jones is missing plenty of bats (12 strike-outs in 11 innings), but he has walked nine. New York-Penn League batters are hitting just .186 against the 21-year-old.
Donald Moore spoke with Jones about his transition to pro ball.
Donald Moore: Hi Malik, how is everything going for you so far this season?
Malik Jones: It’s going pretty good, going great.
DM: What are your goals for this year?
MJ: Just have the ball club win games, you know? And it’s my job as a pitcher.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a player?
MJ: I believe it’s my demeanor. I’m pretty calm on the mound regardless of the situation. Acknowledge and get the job done. I work hard and I’m a good teammate.
DM: What would you’d like to improve on?
MJ: As far as my game, I would say just consistently pound the strike zone. Let the hitters get themselves out and try to get my defense off the field as quick as I can.
DM: How are you adjusting to professional baseball?
MJ: Pretty good. Some of the colleges I’ve been to are kind of run how they do it here, so it’s not bad, it’s definitely fun.
DM: What do you like best about being a pro athlete?
MJ: Being a professional athlete. Getting to say that you made it to this level and competing with the best of the best.
DM: Any pre-game routines?
MJ: There is certain music I listen to beforehand. I actually listen to jazz music before the game.
DM: Any hobbies?
MJ: I like to fish. I used to hunt with my Uncle, but I haven’t been in a while, but fishing and hunting is what I do.
DM: Favorite baseball team growing up?
MJ: The Braves. It’s my home town.
DM: Where are you originally from?
DM: If there is one person that taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
MJ: I would say my dad. And when I tell people that, it’s crazy because he never played baseball, but he knew a lot about the sport. He was a football man, but he gave me the foundation that I have today and I have just been building off that.
DM: The craziest thing you have ever seen on a baseball diamond?
MJ: The triple play that we had a couple of weeks ago. That was my first time I have seen one and that was pretty cool.
DM: Any off-season plans?
MJ: Just working out. I’m actually trying to start up camps for younger kids, teach them skills and things like that, so that is what I’m planning this off season
DM: I want to thank you for your time and the best of luck to you and your career.
MJ: Thank you.
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