BY STEVE KRAH
“I think that probably his whole life people underestimated him,” says Maloney of the 6-foot, 165-pound Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft-eligible sophomore. “But he never underestimated himself.
“He’s been a motivator on his own. He’s been a fighter. That’s what he does when he gets between those lines — he fights. Everybody in the country would want him to be their pitcher.”
Jameson really went on the national radar when he stymied Stanford in the 2019 season opener Feb. 15 in Tempe, Ariz., and earned Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.
“He was dominating,” says Maloney of the righty who hurled six no-hit innings against the nationally-ranked Cardinal with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Maloney is enjoying the Jameson experience at Ball State because he does not expect it to last past this season.
“We’re not going to have him,” says Maloney. “He’s going to go pretty high in the draft. Everybody in the country knows that. It’s great. That’s what you want. You want him to realize his dream and have a chance to play in the big leagues.
“He’s special. He has moxie. He has confidence.”
The 21-year-old Jameson just doesn’t believe in holding back and wants always be the aggressor.
“I’m very competitive,” says Jameson. “I never want to take a pitch off.”
Jameson graduated from Greenfield (Ind.)-Central High School and came to the Cards as a two-way player (he has since left the outfield to concentrate on pitching).
Where does he think he’s improved most since his high school days?
“I’ve become a true pitcher,” says Jameson. “In high school, you could have considered me as a thrower. Last year, you could have considered me a thrower.
“Since I’ve become a pitcher-only, I’ve really improved my game. That comes with time on the mound.”
In 2018, Jameson’s honors included Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, Baseball America Freshman All-American second team, MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year, all-MAC first team and MAC Pitcher of the Week (April 9, 2018).
Jameson says Ball State pitching coach Dustin Glant has reinforced his competitive drive by pushing him and firing him up.
What does compete mean to Jameson?
“It’s 100 percent every pitch,” says Jameson. “You don’t take a back seat. You don’t back down. You just go right at them.
“I’m super-competitive and have a chip on my shoulder. That’s very crucial to competing in my opinion. I trust myself. I trust the guys behind me.”
Jameson is the Cardinals’ Friday night starter for weekend series and is expected to take the ball Friday, April 26 against Bowling Green in Muncie.
Tuesday, April 23 was scheduled as a bullpen day. But since BSU was playing Indiana at Victory Field in Indianapolis, Jameson took another opportunity to compete and worked the first inning. It took him 14 pitches to strike out all three batters he faced.
With wipe-out breaking stuff to go with the heat (he regularly touches 94 to 97 mph and registered 100 twice on the Miami University scoreboard on April 12), Jameson can be a handful for hitters.
In 11 starts in 2019, he is 2-3 with a 3.53 earned run average. He has 92 strikeouts and 20 walks in 58 2/3 innings with a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.12. Opponents are hitting .211 against him.
Jameson has worked with former Pendleton Heights High School, Ball State and Arizona Diamondbacks system pitcher and current Chicago White Sox area scout Justin Wechsler.
“He’s been a very big help for me,” says Jameson. “He’s helped me with my mechanics and getting into my legs a lot more than I used to.”
Maloney says Wechsler was also a fierce competitor with a nasty breaking ball.
Robbie Miller was Jameson’s head coach at Greenfield-Central.
“He was a fun guy to be around,” says Jameson of Miller. “I love Robbie. He’s a very competitive guy when it comes to baseball. He’s a guy like myself. He loves to compete and hates to lose.”
The son of Daryl Stephens and Saline Jameson, Drey also competed for the GC Cougars on the football field and basketball court.
A point guard on the hardwood, Jameson’s main focus was on defense. He enjoyed locking down the other team’s top-scoring guard.
Again with the competitor.
Drey Jamseon, a Ball State University sophomore right-hander, delivers a pitch. (Ball State University Photo)
Ball State University sophomore baseball pitcher Drey Jameson is a graduate of Greenfield (Ind.)-Central High School. (Ball State University Photo)
Drey Jamseon, a Ball State University sophomore right-hander, delivers a pitch. He is eligible for the 2019 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. (Ball State University Photo)
Drey Jamseon, a Ball State University sophomore right-hander, brings it against a batter. In his first 58 2/3 innings in 2019, he has 92 strikeouts and 20 walks. (Ball State University Photo)