Simmons, now 19 years old, was drafted by the Orioles in the 24th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Camden County High School in Kingsland, GA. Jalen is a pure raw talent, as he took a two year hiatus from baseball to focus on football, but began playing baseball his senior year in high school again and really showcased some great potential. Simmons has a patient approach at the plate, but has some things to work on with his swing. He is already showing some progress, and as he matures and gets stronger, he will begin to show the results as well.
Jalen has played his first two professional seasons with the Gulf Coast Rookie League Orioles to ensure a number of at bats for him and the opportunity to mature at the plate. Although his average is not where he, or the Orioles organization would like it to be, he is showing progress and getting better, which is what baseball is all about. He was able to get 22 games under his belt in 2011, and 38 games in 2012 hitting .169 and .172 respectively. 2012 did produce some career firsts for Simmons as he recorded his first professional triple and home run.
Simmons was also kind enough to sit down with Orioles101 for an interview and respond to a few questions for our readers:
Orioles101: First let me just thank you for taking the time to do this for us, and I know our readers will enjoy this. First one for you, how did it feel when the Orioles drafted you in the 2011 MLB Draft?
Word can't explain the feeling. I hadn't played baseball in two years and began playing my senior year again. I quit to get a scholarship in football and I wasn't the best in baseball growing up. But I grew a little into my body senior year and began to show tools. Words can't describe it, overly blessed.
Orioles101: At what point did you realize baseball may be the way to go as opposed to football?
As my senior year progressed, I got better and more and more scouts came to watch. And I always enjoyed baseball more.
Orioles101: Definitely seems like it was the right decision, I know Baltimore feels that way. Where are you looking to start your 2013 season? Aberdeen? Delmarva?
Hopefully Delmarva, but Aberdeen wouldn't be bad either. As long as I'm getting at bats. Before pro ball I never saw 85 MPH.
Orioles101: Wow, that must have been quite an adjustment. Which leads into my next question, what have you learned in your two years of pro ball?
Got to be patient with baseball. It's a game of failure. If you succeed 3 out of 10 ten times, you are in the Hall of Fame.
Orioles101: Absolutely, no sport like it. What are you working on this offseason to prepare for 2013?
Timing and rhythm at the plate, the game got a lot faster on me. So I'm adjusting to how early I get ready. Trying to smooth things out and get numbers.
Orioles101: Just a couple more for you, what are some of your goals for 2013?
Hit .250 or higher with six or more home runs.
Orioles101: Last one, who wins this year's Super Bowl?
Hahaha, I'm a Steeler fan, so football is over for me, but I'd say Green Bay.
Orioles101: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, haha. Green Bay looks good, but Go Ravens! I just want to thank you again for taking the time for us. Best of luck in 2013 and beyond!
No problem, thank you and have a blessed 2013.
Orioles101 would like to thank Jalen Simmons for taking the time to sit down with us for an interview and respond to a few questions for our readers. He has a good head on his shoulders with a great work ethic, which will help him advance in his career. Simmons is a ways away from making it to Baltimore, but with hard work, some fine tuning to his swing, and getting used to pro pitching, he has the tools to make it one day.
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