When fans and media talk about some young Orioles players and how they can improve in the future they seem to mention players like Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters and Brian Matusz.
It almost feels like Adam Jones is a veteran after two years and 251 O’s games. But at 24, Jones points out he still has plenty of room to grow as a player.
At FanFest, a reporter referred to him as a veteran.
“You say, veteran, I’m only 24, I’m still young. I like that part, the leadership and all that stuff. Taking control of this team. Every time people mention our core group of players, they mention three or four players, I think we have seven or eight core guys,” Jones.
In 119 games in 2009, Jones, who played in his first All-Star game in July, batted .277-19-70 in 473 at bats.
He ended the year on the DL with a sprained ankle but has been fully 100 percent for months.
If he could ever put together a full year like he began last season, he could put up some massive numbers. Jones hit 11 homers in his first 45 games, then just eight over the final 74 games.
Jones, before AS break: .303-12-47
Jones, post AS break: .222-7-23
Jones was asked about his struggles after the All-Star break.
“There’s no reason for it, I just didn’t get it done the second half. I hit a little wall and got a little tired. For the most part I was seeing the ball good, but results weren’t happening. That’s why it’s a game of adjustments.”
He said he noticed pitchers making big adjustments vs. him as the year went on and now he has to learn how to handle that.
But what a start he had. By the end of May, Jones was batting .344-11-36. The O’s were averaging 4.9 runs per game at that point, a nearly 800-run full season pace.
With his speed and the ability to do damage on the bases and at the bat, Jones is a huge catalyst in the O’s lineup.
Even with his second-half falloff, he was still a dramatically improved player from year one to two with the club and his OPS went from .711 to .792.
He is not yet even arbitration eligible and realizes that any talks about a long-term contract are still probably a year or two away.
“That’s not up to me. I just want to play.”
Jones has quickly become a fan favorite and says it still is a bit of a thrill to see fans in Baltimore wearing his number 10 jersey.
“That’s a crazy part, to see my jersey around the city. It’s pretty cool, the city has embraced me well and treated me well and all I want to do is reward them.”
What improvements can Jones make in his game? How good can he be? Is he the most complete five-tool talent on the team?