Stacey Long: Is Adam Jones finally breaking out?

When the Orioles traded for Adam Jones in the winter of 2007, he was considered by many to be a future star. His potential to be a power-hitting center fielder with above-average defensive skills had Orioles fans drooling, but he hadn't put it all together up to this season and the frustration level among fans was raised to a critical level.

Since the beginning of this season, it's been obvious that Jones has worked hard on his defense. He is consistently making plays both shallow and deep that he didn't always get to last year and the year before. It's been encouraging to watch, but to start the season his offense was still headache inducing.

Through the first two weeks of the season, he had 12 strikeouts against just one walk and was getting only base only about 20 percent of the time. His penchant for striking out on pitches way out of the strike zone was infuriating and his cold start to the season had the Orioles' blogosphere buzzing with the thought that maybe Jones would never be what was advertised when he was traded for. Without the track record of someone like Nick Markakis, he's an easy target.

From April 18 through last night's loss, however, Jones has been on fire at the plate. In that span he's hitting .298/.364/.553 with eight strikeouts against six walks. He has looked much more patient and the plate and he's hitting the ball with authority. That's only two weeks of data, of course, and he'll have to sustain it much longer before it appears to be anything more than the hot streaks we've seen him on in the past, but it's been very encouraging to watch.

This is Jones' fourth season with the Orioles, so it's easy to forget that he's just 25. A lot of players his age are still in the minor leagues. If the Orioles are going to have sustained success, Jones and his fellow young teammates will have to continue to thrive. So far this year, Jones is off to a good start.

Stacey Long blogs about the Orioles at Camden Chat. Read Long's Orioles observations this week, 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.

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