When the Mariners caved in to Baltimore’s demands and agreed to build a package for Erik Bedard around outfielder Adam Jones, most of the Mariners blogosphere was livid. I personally wrote that I wouldn’t swap Jones for Bedard straight up, much less adding in George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler, and Kam Mickolio. Our response to the deal was a combination of exasperated frustration and resignation to rooting for an organization who just didn’t understand how valuable Jones was.
Not everyone saw it the same way we did, though. The local media was especially supportive of dealing prospects for a proven all-star starter, and were quick to point out that Jones hadn’t established himself as a major leaguer yet. When, at the end of May, he was hitting .242/.292/.351 with just two home runs and an 11/46 BB/K rate, they gladly patted themselves on the back and reminded everyone that Jones wasn’t as good as we thought, and trading him away was justified, even if Bedard had been a disappointment.
Since June 1st, however, he’s been on a mission to justify our faith, hitting .327/.364/.484 and getting promoted to the #2 hole in the O’s line-up. Still just 22-years-old, he’s raw as can be (5.2% BB%, 23.2% K%, .130 ISO), but is still producing quality results without putting all his physical skills to use.
When Jones adds a bit more selectivity to his approach at the plate and grows into his power, he’s certainly got potential as a .290/.340/.470 type of hitter, and combined with his defense in center field, he’s a star in the making. Don’t let the early struggles fool you – Adam Jones is one of the best young players in baseball.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.