BASEBALL ATHLETIC PROFILE
Despite a blissful attitude, sophomore centerfielder Dylan Jones is the heart of the Dons’ order, batting third.
Dylan Jones plays a demanding position as the Dons centerfielder, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he plays the game.
Between pitches he hollers smart-ass comments to his fellow outfielders as if he were a late-night standup comic.
“He is a big goofball. He says things to keep us lively because it can get boring in the outfield,” freshman outfielder Geoff Schuller said.
Jones treasures every moment he spends on the diamond.
“A lot of people aren’t as fortunate as I am, and I know that,” Jones said. “So I do everything I can to laugh as much as possible, smile as much as possible and make sure everybody around me is doing that same thing.”
But don’t let the easy demeanor fool you into thinking he’s a class clown. Jones did not commit an error in 81 chances this year.
“He is about as good a centerfielder as we’ve had at this level,” Head Coach Don Sneddon said, adding, “He takes a lot of pride in the defensive part of his game.”
The defensive wizard’s teammates echo Sneddon’s praises.
“He runs balls down other guys wouldn’t get to even if they dove,” sophomore third baseman Adrian Garcia said.
At the plate Dylan rakes. He is in the team’s top five in 12 offensive categories. His quick, powerful left-handed swing is similar to the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley.
“He generates a lot of power from his bat, but that is just from him working hard in the weight room,” sophomore shortstop Andy Peterson said.
Earlier in the season Jones held his back elbow higher and gripped the bat with a more closed grip, causing him to finish his swing late.
Sneddon moved the elbow down and opened up Dylan’s grip. Those tweaks to Jones’ mechanics opened a quicker path to the ball for the barrel of his 33-inch Easton XL3.
To start the season Jones hit in the fifth or sixth hole in the batting order. Sneddon moved Jones to third after a recent injury to Peterson because of Jones’ knack for finding gaps.
“His biggest improvement over the last month has been his ability to drive the ball up the middle,”
Maturity and better focus are a few of the reasons Jones improved on his 2011 numbers.
He increased both his batting average and on-base percentage by at least 60 points, drove in more runs and cut his strike out total down from 30 to 10.
“He has improved a lot as a sophomore. The work ethic is much more consistent,” Sneddon said.