The next installment of the Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014 series brings us to No. 44, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. Jones has quickly developed a reputation of being one of the best outfielders in the game and certainly one of the most exciting to watch.
The great thing about Jones is his ability to do just about everything on the baseball field. He has a great combination of power, speed and the ability to hit for contact. In eight MLB seasons, Jones has hit for a .279/.322/.460 slash line with 140 home runs and 74 stolen bases. His breakout campaign came in 2012 when he played in all 162 games. In 697 plate appearances, Jones hit .287/.334/.505 line with 32 home runs and 16 steals. He posted a personal best 126 wRC+ and 4.3 fWAR.
After pointing out the positives in a player’s game, I also like to mention some of the things the player doesn’t do well that he could improve on. Jones isn’t bad at much, but there are two things he doesn’t do well. First, he doesn’t draw enough walks. In 2013, he walked in just 3.6 percent of his plate appearances. His career-high was in 2009 when he walked in only 6.9 percent of his plate appearances.
The only other thing that Jones isn’t particularly good at is defense. Last season, Jones was ranked 18th among center fielders with a -7.9 UZR/150. Jones does do something well defensively, but he plays a position that doesn’t necessarily require it. He has a cannon arm. Outfielders with arms like Jones has normally fit in better at a corner outfield positions, but Jones is too athletic to take out of center field.
Orioles fans are lucky to be able to watch Jones play every night because he certainly is a very exciting player that does dynamic things on a baseball field. It appears Jones won’t be leaving Baltimore anytime soon, so Orioles fans don’t have to worry about that. Jones is signed through 2018 to a seven-year, $91.65 million contract. At just 28 years old, he should be able to continue his great success for at least the majority of his contract with the O’s.