07/27/2007 1:57 PM ET
Jones: Rookies are contributing
We have a lot of good young talent here in Atlanta and that's already been beneficial for this year's club. Yunel Escobar and Jarrod Saltalamacchia have been impressive. They're not intimidated playing on this level.
Seeing these two young guys break in reminds me of a couple of years ago when Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur came up. Escobar and Salty doing what they're doing is just another testament to our Minor League system. The coaches and staff down in the Minors get our guys ready to play. Escobar and Jarrod have stepped in and believe they belong, just like Jeff and Brian did in 2005.
Salty has been a quality backup catcher and has played some first base. He has that ability to switch-hit as well. Escobar has been great leading off against lefties. He has a lot of agility and versatility to play second, third and short. Both have proven they're ready to play here and ready to stay here.
Their contributions are more impressive because they've helped us in the middle of a division race. They are not intimidated at all. They know that they can play at this level. That's common with all of the young guys who come up through our system. Our staff seems to know when they're ready. The young guys who come up in this organization are never a weak link when they get here.
But it's not like these guys have come out of nowhere. I've been impressed with them both each time I saw them at camp. I've known for quite a while that both have a lot of talent. It was a matter of when, not if, for both of them.
They're catching on among fans in Atlanta, too. Salty is already a pretty hot commodity around Atlanta and his last name alone has drawn a lot of attention. Escobar has a more flamboyant personality. He gets real excited to be out there and he gets really excited to play. He plays with a lot of energy and the fans appreciate that.
Off the field, both guys are level headed. They're kind of quiet. They're both good at soaking up as much as possible. They can learn a lot from older players who have been in this game for a long time. They're really doing an all-around good job and have made themselves important parts of our club.
As a veteran player, one of my jobs is to help them. I've experienced some situations in my career that can help them, so I make myself available to them. If they have a question, I'll have an answer for them.
Chipper Jones batted .415 during a 10-game hitting streak that ended July 26 and leads the National League with a .344 batting average. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is hitting .284 in 141 at-bats while fellow rookie Yunel Escobar is at .313 in 131 at-bats.