O’s outfielder Adam Jones is struggling at bat, and the worry for fans - and for team officials as well - is that this could be more than just a slump.
It hasn’t been only a series, road trip or month where Jones has been not great at bat, but all season, and his struggles date back well into last year.
This time in 2009, Jones was looking great at the plate, just like the All-Star he would soon be.
But the story has been different since the first of June last season, after Jones’ torrid start at the plate in April and May of 2009.
Jones produced as many homers and nearly as many RBI and extra-base hits in his first 45 games last year that he has in 125 games since June 1 of 2009.
Plus, his batting average has dropped 111 points.
The worrisome part of this comparison is that his struggles have been for those last 125 games, while his hot stretch was for just 45 games.
April/May 2009: .344/11/36 - 45 games - 25 EBH.
Since June of 2009: .233/11/41 - 125 games - 28 EBH.
It’s not as simple as this, but early last year Jones seemed to be working the count better and hitting to right field more.
Even after he trailed off last year, his final numbers still were good for a young player, but they are well down this season.
Jones the last two years:
2009: .277 BA........335 OBP.....457 Slug......792 OPS.
2010: .230 BA........257 OBP.....356 Slug.......613 OPS.
Maybe some things came too fast too soon for Jones. He was an All-Star; he won a Gold Glove; and there was talk that he was the future leader of the Orioles.
Maybe Adam had a hard time dealing with all the accolades. Maybe hitting 11 homers early last year had him swinging too much for the fences.
Could it be that those first two months of 2009 were a bit of a fluke and the real Jones has emerged since?
You’d like to think he could produce the .277-19-70 numbers from last season at least, but that looks in doubt now.
His strikeout to walks ratio is still quite poor and while the physical gifts are there, the numbers no longer are.
I should point out, this is in no way to single out Jones. He has plenty of company on this team not hitting right now and there are plenty to blame for the poor performance of the O’s offense. This is just looking at his individual play over the past two seasons.
Maybe he is just a young player going through growing pains and just needs more time and will emerge looking every bit like the early 2009 Adam.
He is someone that, from a reporters’ standpoint, seems to work hard and very much care about his play and the team.
He says he loves Baltimore and many fans here reciprocate those feelings.
But what can the O’s do or should they do to get him back to swinging a better bat?