Q&A with Charleston First Baseman, Ben Jones

PinstripesPlus.com caught up with Riverdogs' first baseman Ben Jones to get his thoughts on his first full year of professional baseball, how the team is preparing for their playoff run in the South Atlantic League, which hitter has impressed him the most this year, which pitcher has caught his eye the most, and more.

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PinstripesPlus: Ben, talk about your season so far this year in your first full season of professional baseball.

Ben Jones: This has been a really great season so far. We've been in first place pretty much all year and now we're getting ready for the playoffs to start so we can win a championship. Personal goals are really not a big deal for me. I just try and put up the numbers I can put up. Those are things that will take care of themselves. Definitely having Cody [Ehlers] and [Evan] Tierce back in the lineup, our lineup has a lot more things that can happen now. We're in a position to score a lot more runs for our pitchers.

PinstripesPlus: Have you guys given any thought as to who you might be playing in the playoffs and keeping an eye on them?

Jones: No we haven't really given much thought to who we'll be playing in the playoffs. I guess whoever we play, we're going to give them a run for their money.

PinstripesPlus: You mentioned that you put team goals ahead of personal goals. Did you have any sort of personal goals heading into this season?

Jones: No, not really. I was just trying to be productive. I just wanted to come out and play hard. Usually the personal stuff takes care of itself when you're winning. I didn't really have a ballpark of the type of numbers I wanted. I just wanted to be productive and that was it.

PinstripesPlus: You had that slump in July where you hit only .216 for the month, but you have returned to form here in August. Did you figure out what was going wrong for you during your slump?

Jones: I might have had a few mechanical things going on with my swing. Me and 'Tys' [hitting coach Torre Tyson] worked on some things to get it back. That's going to happen though. In 400 or 500 at-bats you're going to have down times. But I hadn't really done anything different. Maybe the swing was a little funny, but I've got a good swing [back] now.

PinstripesPlus: Is this the type of year that you would have expected for your first full year of professional baseball?

Jones: Yeah, this is kind of what I expected. I was a little more worried about the physical aspect of it and whether or not I would last the whole season, which at times has been a little difficult. But it has been pretty much what I had expected.

PinstripesPlus: Has there been anybody on this team that has surprised you the most this season?

Jones: No, I think everybody has pretty much done what was expected of them. That's all you can really do. Nobody has been a big surprise for me. I kind of expected a lot out of everybody here.

PinstripesPlus: Well, put it this way, who has been the person that has impressed you the most, among the positional players?

Jones: Here's not here now, but among the guys that I have played with this year would have to be Justin Christian. From what he has done from here on to Tampa, from what I hear he is tearing it up there, the things that he brings to the table is totally different from other guys. He can steal bases, he can run, he plays a little bit of defense, and he hits for good average and power. He's been one guy that has impressed me.

PinstripesPlus: Justin is a little bit older. What would you say to the critics that point to his age and say that's he is not a real prospect because of it?

Jones: I really don't care what people say about that. He has done everything that has been asked of him. He has pretty much shown that he can play at this level [A-ball] and I hope he gets a chance to move on and prove it in the big leagues someday.

PinstripesPlus: Turning things around a little, which pitcher on this staff has impressed you the most this season?

Jones: I would have to say Mike Martinez just because he pretty much comes in and stops the game. When he comes in the 9th inning, it is over. I'd pretty much have to say 10 out 10 times, when he comes in, it is over. He doesn't have overpowering stuff but he always gets those outs when we need them.

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