With Opening Day only four weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2015 Orioles every day as they try to defend their American League East title this season.
CF Adam Jones
Contract status: Signed through the 2018 season
Minor-league options remaining: Need player permission to option due to five years of major league experience
2014 stats: .281/.311/.469, 29 HR, 96 RBI, 88 R, 7 SB, 682 PA
Why to be impressed: The four-time All-Star selection posted a career-best 4.9 WAR (wins above replacement) in 2014 and remains one of the best outfielders in the American League as he brings consistent power and good defense to the table.
Why to be concerned: Even though Jones saw 3.62 pitches per plate appearance in 2014 — his highest number since 2010 — he walked a career-low 19 times and continues to go through spells in which he swings at too many bad pitches. With Nelson Cruz no longer hitting behind him, you hope Jones doesn’t feel the need to try to do too much at the plate.
2015 outlook: Jones’ aggressive approach probably won’t do him many favors when his bat speed begins decreasing when he reaches his 30s, but there were no signs of him slowing down a year ago as his 72.5 percent contact rate was the same as it was in 2013. You have to admire his durability as Jones has played in 159 or more games in each of the last three years. With Nick Markakis no longer in the clubhouse, Jones is now the elder statesman and he should be poised for another season approaching 30 homers.