Right now, Jones is one of the more prominent faces of the franchise and so far in 2011, his profile seems to be rising even more in the sport thanks to an outstanding May at the plate.
Before this season began, I was not sure what to think of Jones at times.
Well, there a few situations last year while watching the action live from my seat, when I could recall myself saying silently in my mind, “he’s all right, but he could be, well, so much more.”
Although Jones hit a robust .284 with 19 homers and 69 RBIs on a mediocre team and was shuffled throughout the lineup quite bit in 2010, I felt quite underwhelmed by him.
There were a lot of fans who felt the same way I did - to various degrees. Whether that assessment of Jones was fair - or not - more was expected based on the obvious talent and having the look of a ‘ballplayer’.
The center fielder has developed quite a bit since he first debuted as an Oriole, and at 25, he looks to be a star in the making.
Jones, for the first few years in his Oriole tenure, looked to have issues at times with plate discipline; however, he is a lot more selective on pitches he sees and seems to be a lot more confident at the plate.
After what I have seen this month, he is now looking like a guy who could be hitting at 25 homers, stealing 20-plus bases and driving in at least 85 runs year after year. In addition there are fewer lapses in the field, which is a good thing.
Honestly, I do think Jones should be utilizing his speed more on the bases and I’m not sure if it’s a matter of him not knowing what to do - or some reluctance.
However, all things considered, Jones is closer to becoming the player that many envisioned him to be when he was acquired in the infamous Erik Bedard trade with the Seattle Mariners.
Jones seems to have the personality to be not only a leader, but a renowned young star in the same breath as an Evan Longoria, Jay Bruce or Ryan Braun; however, time will only tell. So far, he’s inching closer to that reality with his solid play and an improved Oriole squad.
If he can take his game to the next level, the franchise will be sure to follow.
Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O’s appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.