There are numerous methods for one to illustrate the streaky tendencies in a batter’s season. If I were to gamble on such a topic, I would feel safe guessing that Dave Allen would whip up a nifty graph, whereas Carson Cistulli would write each month in iambic pentameter. I’m neither as creative or talented as those men, so instead, allow me to take the old-fashioned approach to the science of month-by-month analysis with Adam Jones as the subject.
Creating outs is the greatest crime in this game of baseball. In April, Jones created many outs. Not only did he create outs by not having his batted balls turn into hits or striking out, but also by refusing to walk. He finished the month with more double plays hit into than walks. A .303 on-base percentage is horrendous and yet represented an upgrade in this circumstance. Through the first two month of the season, Jones’ line displayed an empty (and mediocre) batting average and no power. What, do tell, is going on with our Adam Jones, wondered Orioles’ fans.
Merely a coincidence that Jones and June are spelled alike? Sure, but is it merely a coincidence that Jones did his best to quench those curiosities during June? Some things we simply aren’t meant to know. For his part, Jones hit eight home runs in 100 at-bats and walked four times despite walking only five times through the first two months.
The sequel to his hot June was a letdown. His inhibitions against walking are never at their worst than when he is, too. A quick glance at Jones’ O-Swing% gives us some good and bad news. The bad is that he’s swinging out of the zone as often as ever. However, so is the rest of the league, meaning that, relative to his peers, Jones is actually swinging out of the zone less often than in previous years.
A double-scooping of good news to go with that tidbit and these two extremely good months is that Jones’ O-Swing% is down (relative to the league) for the second straight season. September is Jones’ little black dress while August is the business casual that Orioles fans request he wear more often when on the job for the next few seasons.
Months like August are why folks held superstar aspirations for the 25-year-old. Months like April, May, and July are why he’s yet to reward those aspirations with performance. To his credit, Jones is about the best bet in the Orioles’ lineup for between 1.8 and 2 wins during any given season and his age suggests that maybe, just maybe, he can still become the superstar that left Mariner fans in the gutter when Bill Bavasi moved him in a stupor.