I’ve always liked Adam Jones since he joined the Orioles in 2008, coming over from the Mariners in the Erik Bedard trade. And even though he’s only hitting .231 right now, I’m starting to find that I like him more and more each game.
I admit the thing that has kept Adam from being one of my favorites on the team is his plate discipline. In the past he has looked pretty foolish chasing curve balls out of the strike zone over and over again. And unless you’re Vlad Guerrero… well, never mind, don’t get me started on Vlad chasing bad pitches.
Back to Adam: This year he seems to be more confident and more selective at the plate, without sacrificing aggressiveness. He’ll chase an occasional curve ball low and away still, but not nearly as much as previous years or #27 (OK, I’ll stop on Vlad). And against left handed pitching he looks very solid at the plate. It doesn’t hurt that he’s wedged in between new power righties Derrek Lee, Guerrero and Mark Reynolds in the Orioles line up, but I think we’re starting to see Adam mature at the plate right before our eyes. I like watching him bat every night, as well as play center field. He covers as much ground as any center fielder and has a very strong arm – just ask Derek Jeter, who he gunned down at the plate earlier this week. And it doesn’t hurt that he always hustles down the first base line too, and he seems to be having fun out there. What’s not to like?
Three weeks ago I wrote about 2011 being the year of Nick Markakis when he was hitting .429 and I think I jinxed him. He’s now at .211 and has been struggling ever since. But I can’t jinx Adam since he’s only at .231 and has no where to go but up. I think Adam Jones will end up with his best year yet as an Oriole. Here are my projected stats for him, along with his numbers from his first three seasons as an Oriole. With a hot May we may even see him back as an All Star as he was in 2009 (year, average, HRs, RBI):
2011 .292 22 78
2010 .284 19 69
2009 .277 19 70
2008 .270 9 57