Thursday, August 27, 2009
The curious case of Adam Jones
The Orioles lone-All Star in 2009 was Adam Jones. And by the looks of Jones now, you'd wonder how he even made the team in the first place.
Don't get me wrong. I believe in Jones, and still believe he is the answer in CF for years to come. But looking at his splits is cause for alarm. Here's why...
Jones kicked off the 2009 campaign with an almost unbelievable hot start. In April, Jonesy posted a 1.062 OPS, with 4 HR and 7 doubles. He still had an excellent May, this time exuding more power with 7 HR, but his OBP dipped .064 points.
Then June happened. And as usual in Baltimore, June seems to bring out the worst in players, and the team.
Jones posted a .609 OPS in the month of June, and hit only 1 HR, but his hot start was good enough to get him to the All Start Game where he played well, driving in the winning run with a sacrifice fly.
Jones rebounded a tad in July with an OPS .764 and 5 HR, but hit only 2 doubles and walked only 5 times the entire month. Whereas Jones seemed to have a brand new patient approach at the plate in April -- after having a .311 OBP in 2008 -- Jones regressed into a free-swinger, which has also hurt him in August (.639 OPS).
Put his 2009 numbers together .283 AVG, 19 HR, 70 RBI, .805 OPS and Jones is on pace to have the best season as an Oriole CF since Brady Anderson was in his prime.
But were April and May an aberration? Is Jones still the low-OBP, free-swinger as opposed to the patient hitter he worked hard to become in spring training? Is he a mediocre fielder who routinely plays too shallow as opposed to the orange blur he was in CF in 2008?
It's important to remember that Jones just turned 24 and is still developing in all aspects of the game. He just collected his 1,000th AB at the MLB level a month ago. But after the blazing hot start to the 2009 season that had many Orioles fans calling for GM Andy MacPhail to give Jones a contract extension, it might be wise for MacPhail to wait Adam Jones out to see the kind of player he becomes.
Because other than an out-of-character April and May, Jones appears to be the same player he was in 2008.