The Baltimore Orioles have never been known as a patient team at the plate, but the man who can at times be the epitome of that might be changing his ways.
Much of the national conversation Tuesday centers around Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and what happened to him Monday night at Fenway Park, and his comments afterward.
If you want to read that, let me point you to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who originally reported the story.
I will just say this; it is unacceptable in Boston or anywhere.
But, what I want to talk about regarding Jones is his play on the field.
Let’s look at his offensive statistics first.
More from Baltimore Orioles
- What other Baltimore Orioles Offseason Storylines will you be interested in seeing?
- Baltimore Orioles to Face Numerous Playoff Contenders Down the Stretch
- Baltimore Orioles Showing Encouraging Signs During Recent Wins
- The Baltimore Orioles and the Expanded September Roster
- Orioles Josh Rogers Expectations in his Major League Debut
Adam has appeared in 24 games and had 107 plate appearances. He has 98 at-bats, 29 hits, four doubles, four home runs, 11 RBIs, 13 runs, eight walks, one hit by pitch and 18 strikeouts. That is good enough for a .295/.355/.459 slash line, with an OPS of .814.
If those numbers held over a full season, the OPS would be the second best in his career, behind only 2012 (.839), which was his best season as a major leaguer.
His batting average, held over a full season would be the best of his career (2012 – .287). His on-base percentage would be the best of his career as well, eclipsing his 2009 mark of .335.
Let’s assume, for practicality’s sake, that Jones plays 144 games in the regular season, meaning he is 1/6 through his season. If you multiply his stats by six, that would mean he would finish with 174 hits, 24 doubles, 24 home runs, 66 RBIs (remember he is batting second), 78 runs, 48 walks and 108 strikeouts.
Forty-eight walks would set a new career-high for Jones along with setting a career-low in strikeouts with 108. And, it would also reason to believe that some of those numbers would go up, such as the power numbers as summer heats up, and the runs number as Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo start hitting better.
But, that’s not the only improvement.
Jones is playing notably deeper in center field. Whether that is in reaction to Doug Glanville‘s comments, Dan Duquette’s comments, those flanking him in the outfield, no one knows. But, it seems to be working.
All the sabermetric numbers for Jones defensively are positive. They are all small, as it is clearly a small sample size so far. But, they are trending positively, which is different from 2016.
Let’s take a little wider view for a second. According to baseball-reference.com, the player Jones’ scores most similarly to (per Bill James‘ methodology) at this point in his career is Andre Dawson. Dawson, of course, is a Hall of Famer.
Now, I’m not saying Jones is on his way to a Cooperstown induction. I do think he belongs in the Orioles’ Hall of Fame, even if he stopped playing today.
Oriole fans for years have clamored for Jones to lay off the low and away slider. And to position himself better in the outfield. This year, Jones is showing patience at the plate, and his defensive positioning is almost always spot on.
The question will be whether Jones can carry these changes throughout the long major league baseball season.
One month down, six more to go, hopefully!