With Opening Day just a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
CF Adam Jones
Opening Day age: 31
Contract status: Under contract through the 2018 season
2016 stats: .265/.310/.436, 29 HR, 83 RBI, 86 R, 2 SB, 672 PA
Why to be impressed: Despite being slowed by a rib injury over the first month of the season, Jones hit at least 25 home runs and drove in at least 82 runs for the sixth consecutive season. Often criticized for his lack of plate discipline, the veteran recorded a career-high 39 walks as well as the lowest strikeout rate of his career at 17.1 percent while being asked to serve in the leadoff spot for much of the year.
Why to be concerned: His .436 slugging percentage was his lowest since 2008 and his .265 batting average was his worst since 2007, which are concerns for a player entering his 12th season. Much has been made about his comments on the outfield defense, but Jones finished at minus-10 defensive runs saved in 2016 and is being asked to cover too much ground to make up for lesser corner defenders.
2017 outlook: Manager Buck Showalter doesn’t want to use Jones in the top spot again, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll remain healthy enough to see his power return to where it was prior to 2016. His .280 batting average on balls in play in 2016 was well below his .308 career mark, an indication that Jones should expect to experience better luck on his way to bouncing back from a down season.
Not-so-scientific projections for 2017: .274/.314/.458, 27 HR, 80 RBI, 85 R, 5 SB, 660 PA