Last on our list of top out field targets is the most controversial, and definitely the most talked about over the past few days, Adam Jones.
Jones is Baltimore’s 26 year old center fielder and a controversial trade subject. Lots of people like to compare him to Jeff Francouer and say he is over hyped, and another group likes to say that he is an above average defender with good pop, and decent speed on the bases.
I would have to say that I am in the second group as in think Adam Jones would be a great addition to the team.
positives and negatives of Adam Jones after the break as well as my recap of Atlanta Braves OF Targets…
Jones is still young at 16 years old and is under team control for two more years. He is arbitration eligible but he is still under team control. In 2011 he made $3 million and is likely to see a bump in that number, but he is still priced very well.
In his time so far in the Major Leagues Jones has put up a triple slash of .275/.319/.437. In his past three seasons he has hit 19, 19, and 25 home runs while stealing 10, 7, and 12 bases. These numbers aren’t eye popping but when you consider his above average center field defense they do look a bit better.
Jones could be finally reaching his true power potential as he finally cracked the 20 homer mark and had a career best ISO of .185. In his best year offensively he was actually a bit unlucky and had a lower BABIP than usual for him. At only .013 points less than his career mark, we shouldn’t expect some phenomenal difference next year but a bump in the numbers isn’t unrealistic.
When we look at Jones’ batted ball statistics we can also see that his line drive percentage has risen the past two seasons and his HR/FB ratio jumped drastically from 11.4% to 16.7%. This also shows that he could finally be tapping into some more power.
He is an above average hitter for a center fielder, plays good defence, and also steals a few bases. You should be able to expect around ten for him, which is nothing compared to Michael Bourn, but awesome compared to most other Braves. He has also always had a positive base running score with Fangraphs if that means anything to you.
OBP, OBP, OBP.
If there is a flaw with Adam Jones it is his on base percentage. His career mark is .319 which is well below average and definitely not something people want to see from a starting player. He hates to take walks when he steps in the batter’s box, walking only 4.7% of the time last year (4.8 career BB%).
He doesn’t strike out any more than average but when you pair 19.7% with a 4.8 BB% it looks pretty bad. If Jones wants to make the jump from quality player than he has got improve his discipline at the plate and increase his OBP.
You might think Jones is as good as the Orioles would like you to think of him, and you might think that he is a waste of time even considering but you cannot tell me that he is not a quality baseball player. Paired with another good prospect (Schoop?) I would trade JJ for him and be happy with my return. He gives us a center fielder if Bourn doesn’t resign and a great left fielder next year. 20 homers, 10 SBs, and a .280 average is something you could realistically expect from him and something I would be glad to get.
If you are more into getting your slugging left fielder this isn’;t your guy but in the longer term Jones is a great candidate for the job and a player you really need to look further into before you make up your mind. I have actually decided to bump him up on my list of targets after learning more about him, so the final list in my opinion looks like this.
- Nick Swisher- one of the most consistent guys in the game. You’re going to get 20+ homers and a good OBP. 1 more year left.
- Adam Jones- a younger guy that can play left next year and center the year after with above average D at both positions. Around 20 homers, to steals, high average low OBP. Under team control for two more years.
- Carlos Quentin- The best option for pure power. Injury concerns, a one year deal, and the worst defense of the group make him my last choice.
Remember this is a list of ’targets’ so just because I have Quentin last does not mean I would not want him. Let me know what your order is for these three and your top three OF targets in baseball, free agents or trades.