A scout from outside the organization who ventured inside Camden Yards over the final weeks of the season made the following observation about Adam Jones, including differences in the center fielder since manager Buck Showalter took control of the club:
“I think the biggest guy that I’ve seen impacted is Jones. I thought in the middle of the season that he was at a crossroads for me, whether he was going to go one way or the other. I think he’s really stepped up.
“He’s got the most power on your club as it’s constructed, including (Luke) Scott. The guy’s got power. If he hit 30-plus home runs next year, I don’t think anybody would be surprised.
“He’s still a guy that, you never have to throw a strike to him. Why throw a strike? Expand the strike zone. So he’s not there totally with that, but he plays harder. There’s accountability now. I think that he could be a really terrific player for you.”
It should be noted that Jones didn’t run out a double-play grounder during the final homestand, but the scout obviously viewed that lapse as an aberration.
So would anyone be surprised if Jones hit 30-plus home runs next season?