Entering the 2015 season, Orioles' centerfielder Adam Jones had a career slash of .280/.321/.461 since coming to Baltimore. Never hitting below .270, and never higher than .287, Jones had also managed to hit at least 19 HRs and drive in at least 69 runs over the course of course of seven seasons as an Oriole.
Despite the fact that most continually point fingers at Jones' annually disappointing on-base percentage (Jones has never exceeded a .335 clip), taking walks and refusing to hack just isn't part of his personality or on-field approach. In an era in which OBP is valued as such a make-or-break commodity, Jones hasn't strayed from what has made him successful. Like it or not, don't expect him to change.
Again in 2015, Jones did a lot of swinging, not a lot of walking and continued to drive in runs for the Orioles.
Jonesy got off to a milestone start in April, hitting .400/.440/.707 with 5 HRs and 17 RBIs, made even more incredible with a wRC+ of 207. A .403 BABIP was not a fluke, as Jones' 28.4 LD% certainly aided the batted ball's track into open real estate.
May saw what was perhaps regression to the mean, as a .239/.272/.284 monthly slash was the embodiment of a team that hit a collective .231/.287/.358. With only one home run and seven runs batted in the second month of the year, Jones was an easy scapegoat for a failing offense, but rather just a passerby in a pedestrian month for the Orioles.
June and July were bounce-back months for Jones, as he hit a combined .274/.323/.537 coupled with 11 HRs and 24 RBIs. His June BB% of 7.5% was 3.2% higher than his career average, and was Jonesy's most patient month at the plate this year, in relation to walks. Though the strikeouts were beginning to mount by the middle of summer, Jones was still driving in runs, hitting for a relatively strong average and parking the long ball.
June, however, was the start of what O's fans still take for granted, that being the connection between Jones and the disabled list. By June 23rd, Jones had been out of centerfield for five-consecutive games, but his need to play was filled by his insertion into the DH spot. Even back in May, Jones was dealing with a sprained ankle that sidelined him for a few days late in the month, but the most surprising came towards the latter end of August.
On August 27, Jones was went deep to left-center field in an attempt to track down a Ben Zobrist fly ball, but in what ended up in a ball just out of his reach, Jonesy ran full-speed into the Kauffman Stadium outfield wall.
He hit that wall hard, man.
Jones was taken out of the game in what ended up being a 5-3 loss for the O's. 2015 was a year that saw no momentous injuries for Jones, but the nagging, smallish-type annoying ones more than likely proved to be the breaking point for the Orioles' star. This play encapsulates what was a disappointing year for Jones in relation to his capabilities and previous years, but in reality, Jones was yet again one of the most-feared bats in baseball.
In 137 games, Jones finished with a .269/.308/.474 slash, with a not-too-shabby 27 HRs and 82 RBIs despite failing to reach the 150 game plateau for the first time since 2010. His 4.1 BB% his highest mark since 2012, while 17.6 K% was a career-low. If Jones plays in, let's say, 10 more games, there's no reason to think he doesn't reach the 30 home run benchmark for the third time in four years,
One of the more identifiable anomalies of Jones' 2015 stat line is a career-low .286 BABIP. Never posting a BABIP lower than .304, Jones saw his batting average and on-base percentages fall to the bottom of the splits in regards to his time with the Orioles, but its easy to point a finger at the out-of-norm BABIP. His batted ball numbers weren't discernibly different from previous years, with even more balls hit to center field, a sign of a hitter really squaring up the baseball. Can we chalk it down to being unlucky? Perhaps.
Still, Jones had one of the more quiet 27 homer seasons in recent memory, despite battling shoulder and ankle issues for the better half of the last four months. Given the Orioles legitimate concerns at the plate as a whole, Jones had to play. Lingering health issues usually don't keep him out of the lineup, yet Buck Showalter was doing everything he could to keep one of the only dependable bats in the lineup, you know, in the lineup. Jones seems like one of those guys that won't say he's hurt, even going to major lengths to keep his increasing ailments a secret. If he isn't playing, one must assume he is actually hurting to the point where he is a detriment to lineup, and given the Orioles' overall disappointment at the plate this season, his absence speaks volumes.
Jones is never going to be atop the OBP sabermetric pedestal. That just isn't him, and it is never something O's fans should be ashamed of, or aspire to be improved. Jones is Jones. A home run swinger, gliding outfielder and the man in charge of the locker room. We've seen what a healthy Adam is, but as it turns out, a battered and bruised Adam isn't too bad either.
Here's to his body getting a well-earned offseason of zen.