Jones Becoming TCU's Iron Frog at Short
May 3, 2014
By Jay Hinton
TCU Athletics Media Relations
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU junior shortstop Keaton Jones doesn't know what it's like to be out of the line-up.
He's started 164 of a possible 165 games in his career, and he's slowly becoming TCU's Iron Frog.
Not too bad for a 165-pound drink of water who came to TCU as a walk-on pitcher/shortstop in 2012.
"I did both in high school and I was more dominant as a pitcher. I came here as both and they gave me a shot at both," Jones said. "They liked me more as an infielder because I was very consistent and they liked my form and they wanted to work me more as an infielder. I like hitting a lot and I love playing defense. I do miss pitching, but I wouldn't trade it."
The only time Frog head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle didn't pencil in the 195-pound middle infielder in the line-up was March 27, 2012, against University of Texas-Arlington.
Since then, however, he's been inked into the line-up.
"We had him playing shortstop on a 2012 super regional team because he was the only guy that could function at shortstop and be somewhat consistent there," Schlossnagle said.
Jones, who hails from Laguna Beach, California, has seized the opportunity and has progressively gotten better each year to further solidify his position.
As a freshman he hit .166 with four doubles and 17 RBIs. A year later he hit .231 with four extra-base hits and 23 RBIs.
"It was (a matter) of learning how to hit at this level," said Jones, who made his 143rd career start Saturday against Kansas State. "In high school everyone can hit a fastball, but here they change it up on you and they actually pitch. Some guys it comes natural and other guys have to learn and that's how it was for me."
Schlossnagle said Jones took it upon himself to get bigger.
"Last year he hit 70 points higher because he got stronger, and this past summer he even got stronger and played 50 games in a good summer league out in California swinging a wood bat and I think that has helped him," Schlossnagle said. "He can function at the bottom of our line-up right now."
Following Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Wildcats, Jones, who had a game-winning two-run triple in the fourth to extend the Frogs' winning streak to 11, is hitting .238 with two extra-base hits and 11 RBIs.
"He's gotten bigger and stronger and has become a little more pull conscious," Schlossnagle said.
"My freshman year I was really tiny and really skinny and didn't hit the ball very far so my freshman summer I worked really hard to gain weight and get stronger and I did that," Jones said, who moved into fifth all-time in career assists with 484. "This year it has been about (getting) more mobility and getting quicker and faster now that I have that strength."