Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley came to the defense of one of his key players this week when the topic turned to walks and Adam Jones' lack of them.
Jones has drawn just 10 walks in 93 games and is on pace to have just 17 by the end of this year. He drew 34 walks last year when he had an OBP of .334. His current OBP is .312.
"You know what, he's never walked a lot anyway," Presley said. "If you take away his aggressiveness, he's not as good a hitter as he is. He just has to learn when they are trying to pitch around him and when you have a man on third base, they are not going to throw you a first-pitch cookie. He knows that and we preached to him for two or three years and he was pretty good those first two months."
Jones has walked just twice in his last 51 games and that stat has stirred up some fans, who have criticized Jones on message boards, talk shows and this blog.
Presley does admit Jones has gotten a bit too aggressive at times in some recent games, even by his usual free-swinging standards.
"Oh yeah, there's no doubt. And he does that. I saw it before I even got here. I asked people, has this guy gotten better? And he's gotten better at his pitch selection than he was five years ago," Presley added.
"He is an aggressive-type hitter. He gets after it. He gets himself in trouble when he swings at two or three bad pitches an at-bat. He's not the only one that has done that. But it goes in cycles and there are other variables that go into it and that day's performance."
On the year, Jones is batting .288 with 23 doubles, 16 homers, 61 RBIs and a .783 OPS.
He is heading to his third career All-Star game next week and currently ranks in the AL's top 10 in runs (tied for fourth), hits (seventh) and RBIs (eighth).