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  1. well said.

    Comment by Matt K — January 6, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  2. He reminds me of nothing so much as a young Chet Lemon — a useful player, but not somebody you’d break the bank over.

    Comment by JimNYC — January 6, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  3. Not a fan. K/BB isn’t improving. Considering JJ and Prado’s PERCEIVED value around the MLB, seems like an overpay. If the Braves are willing to trade the pair, they should be able to get more than Jones.

    Comment by Resentment — January 6, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  4. Chet Lemon had a career wRC+ of 120 and a WAR of +56.9. He had a better career than several guys in the HOF. If Jones turns into Chet Lemon, the O’s should be thrilled.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — January 6, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  5. The Braves have been trying to trade them all winter with no luck. Perhaps their perceived value is higher in Braves fans minds than in reality?

    Comment by Dave Cameron — January 6, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  6. I totally respect your opinion, but I think you are off base on Adam Jones. You say that Adam Jones “might” be a 4 win player one day. Martin Prado already has been a 4 win player. Jair Jurrjens has had two 3.5+ win seasons under his belt. Prado is more versatile, has a higher BA, a higher OBP, and a SLG% not a lot less than that of Jones. If Prado returns to 2B he might be a 4 win player again. If you look at WAR Jurrjens and Jones have had similar careers thus far. Their arbitration raises last year were very similar. I could be mistaken but I think the Elias rankings also had them with similar scores.

    You can’t say that Jones plays CF and that increases his value because Jones is a terrible defensive CF. He also has only two years of cost control left. If he were signed to a team friendly contract for the next four years THEN he would have more value. Finally, if you examine the career splits Jones just can’t hit LHP at all. The Braves need a RH hitter that can hit the LHP that the NL East throws at them.

    I can understand why the Orioles don’t really want Jurrjens and Prado for Jones if they are in rebuild mode. However, please don’t say that Adam Jones has more value than Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado combined. With only two arbitration years left, and a previous history of being a good (but not great) player he simply isn’t worth what the Orioles supposedly want for him (Jurrjens, Prado plus two of the four top young pitchers). Personally, I don’t think that Jones’ skill set matches what the Braves need either so I don’t really see a good match. However, if the Frank Wren MUST have Jones the ONLY trade that would make sense would be for the Braves to trade Jurrjens for prospects and flip those prospects along with one of their own (JJ Hoover or Christian Bethancourt) for Jones. They need to keep Prado so that he can play against LHP and fill in for Chipper.

    Comment by JT Grace — January 6, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  7. Jones came up one year (in age) before Kemp. Both are centerfielders, with Kemp a better hitter and Jones a better fielder, but in value at the same age they are not dissimilar. And we know what Kemp did in his age 26 season (they are a year apart in age):

    Kemp vs Jones at the same age (wRC+, WAR)
    Age 20 Kemp DNP Jones 41, -0.1
    Age 21 Kemp 89, -0.3 Jones 85, 0.2
    Age 22 Kemp 131, 1.8 Jones 85, 1.8
    Age 23 Kemp 111, 3.5 Jones 103, 1.8
    Age 24 Kemp 127, 5.2 Jones 103, 2.6
    Age 25 Kemp 101, 0.4 Jones 110, 2.9
    Age 26 Kemp 171, 8.7 Jones ??? (2012)

    Totals through age 25 Kemp 114, 10.5 Jones 98, 9.2

    Comment by Baseball Bob — January 6, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  8. Prado and Jurrjens have beaten Jones WAR in their careers and Jones has had the luxury of hitting in Camden Yards. His road OPS+ hasa been the following: 2009 – 108, 2010 – 98, 2011 – 97. He has regressed as a hitter away from a great hitters park in Camden and he has always been a bad defensive player in CF. His bat doesn’t play to be much more than a tick above average in a corner. I think you’re seriously overrating a former Mariners sweetheart prospect.

    Comment by NEBravesfan33 — January 6, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  9. Excellent analysis, and you’re right on about what it will/should take to pry Jones away from the O’s.

    I’m not sure the numbers show it, but watching him almost every day, Jones’ plate discipline improved noticeably in 2011. He was much better at laying off sliders out of the zone when behind in the count, and that helped improve his power numbers. And after regressing defensively in 2010, he made improvements there, too. His overall development has shown fairly steady improvement every year, and it’s entirely reasonable to expect he’ll continue that trend for the next few years.

    As a fan, I’d be loathe to see him traded, unless the O’s get back at least a SP who’s ready to be a #1 starter very soon, and/or a package of high-upside prospects.

    Comment by KS — January 6, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  10. Dave, why do you compeltely disregard that Adam Jones is a bad defensive player in CF? He doesn’t carry much more value in CF because he can’t play the position well at all. You’re seriously off base on this. Jurrjens and Prado aren’t all that – I agree – however it’s crazy to think Jones’ value is off the charts given his body of work and contractual control.

    Comment by NEBravesfan33 — January 6, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  11. Bingo

    Comment by Awesome — January 6, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  12. Agree. I think Adam Jones is probably one of the most overrated hitters in baseball right now, particularly if the Orioles honestly think they can get two of Minor/Beachy/Teheran/Delgado/Vizcaino AND Jurrjens AND Prado. They are just nuts if they think he is worth that.

    Comment by JT Grace — January 6, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

  13. In my view, for comparison purposes, it is not enough to look at swing %. You also need to look at contact %. A young Vernon Wells is not a great comp for Adam Jones because he made a lot more contact and hence struck out much less. It is also better to use ranges with floors and ceilings for IsoP, swing % and contact %.

    If you have reasonable parameters for the above, you would find that a young Cano (too much contact), Cabrera (too much power), Braun (too much power)…are not good comparisons.

    Comment by Mike Green — January 6, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  14. Maybe the Braves haven’t been able to trade them because they want to get fair value for them and not scraps that other teams are offering.

    Before anyone dismisses Martin Prado compare his stats to those of Michael Cuddyer, who just received a 3 year/30M contract.

    Comment by JT Grace — January 6, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  15. the point of the article was about what Jones COULD be, not what he has done in the past. So, Dave offered Jone’s comps based a a defined set of date, which he defined here:

    “I grabbed a list of all player seasons from the last 10 years where the hitter was 25 or younger, swung at 50% or more of the pitches they were thrown, and posted an ISO of at least .150 (to eliminate the middle infielders and catchers who are simply in the sport for their glovework). This group is essentially a collection of athletic players who got to the show based on their physical skills, but showed a significant lack of polish early in their career.”

    I think you are missing the point of the article.

    Comment by ray — January 6, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  16. Jones is worth more than 2 all-stars who are around the same age and have the same amount of team control remaining because they’re “finished products”?

    Why take the boat when you could have the mystery box? The mystery box could be anything, even a boat!

    Comment by Eric — January 6, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  17. I’m not missing Dave’s point that Braves fans are underrating Adam Jones, and I disagree with that sentiment. I think we are rating Jones based on the data provided and he just simply isn’t that good. And there isn’t a strong enough argument to suggest he is going to be that much better in the future. I see Mariners fan/former Mariners prospect = overrated analysis.

    Comment by NEBravesfan33 — January 6, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  18. Jurrjens and Jones value is quite similar. Perhaps the Braves send a couple of mid-level prospects to Baltimore, but not much more than that.

    Comment by NEBravesfan33 — January 6, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  19. Dave,

    Its a really interesting article, but I think you are over-stating Jones’ upside by only focusing on swing% and ISO. One trait that stands out amongst all of your stars and quality regulars on this list is their walk rate- all these guys were walking 6-10% of the time from the day they hit the majors. Jones has never sniffed that sort of patience. The one that jumps out as the most comparable to Jones is Jeff Francouer, which is probably why the Braves fans are irrationally terrified of ending up with Jones.

    Comment by Mike — January 6, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  20. there are a number of problems with the idea of this trade from the braves’ fan’s perspective:
    1) there’s not really any additional value to be gained contract-wise — all three players are essentially at the same point in their arb time. as others have mentioned prado and jurrjens have already posted more career WAR than jones (and prado has done so in 300+ fewer plate appearances. each will become a free agent in 2014. and as arbitration tends to reward players disproportionately for counting stats rather than value, jones stands to earn a higher salary relative to his production than the others.

    2) both of the braves potentially involved are coming off an injury and/or a down year, and given their track records, their trade values would seem to be at career lows.

    3) you say their perceived value is distorted among braves’ fans, but the reality is probably that prado, at least, has higher value to the braves than to other organizations because of his positional flexibility and the likelihood that he’ll spend a fair number of games (30? 60?) manning third base next season.

    4) along the same lines as the criticism of a potential prado-for-seth-smith deal, the braves have been offensively feeble against left-handed pitchers for several years now, and adding jones to the lineup at the expense of prado would only exacerbate that.

    5) if you’re paying for potential (that’s going to get expensive a year from now), i don’t understand why jones is so much more valuable than ONE of the braves’ top pitching prospects, who will be cost-controlled for six years, that the braves would have to include TWO established players who’ve put up better seasons than jones ever has.

    Comment by midgley's folly — January 6, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  21. Then you should be happy that the trade wasn’t completed! You get to keep your Prado and your Prego and your Jar-Jar!

    And the Great Swami says that Prado will never again reach 4 WAR and Jurrjens will continue to be an injury-prone, very average arm.

    Enjoy!

    Comment by JoeC — January 6, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  22. This analysis is incomplete. You can’t compare guys who were swining a lot and were turning that into success to guys that weren’t. This would only make sense if you look at improvement. Most of the “Future stars” were already stars.

    Comment by TK — January 6, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  23. It is very likely that Jones already IS a 4 win player. For some reason, apparently UZR isn’t being calculated correctly at OPACY where Jones plays half his games. If you look at his HOME/AWAY splits, Jones is apparently a horrible defender at home and ever so slightly above average on the road. If this was only attributable to Jones, that would be one thing. It would be unlikely, but possible, that for whatever reason, Jones is a significantly better defender on the road. However, Markakis’ HOME/AWAY splits show the same pattern – bad defender at home, really good defender on the road.

    You can’t just look at a number and make a reading of a player. You have to look into the numbers, because numbers are nothing more than a scouting report created using a formula derived by humans. Numbers therefore, like humans, are not infallible.

    Comment by Chris in Hawaii — January 6, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  24. You don’t even watch the games, do you?

    Comment by Facts — January 6, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  25. Good point. I’m just bitter that the Braves should have got multiple all-stars and quality prospects for close Jones comp Jeff Francoeur. He even had an SI cover proclaiming his Naturalness, Jones doesn’t even have that.

    Comment by Eric — January 6, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  26. Seriously, when did Braves fans turn into the most obnoxious fans in baseball?

    Comment by Chris in Hawaii — January 6, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  27. Dave, appreciate you posting on the topic. I’m sure it’s not always the most fun to take the bait when an entire fanbase disagrees with you on a topic, but I bet it happens more often than we know.

    I guess for me it comes down to the balancing of a player’s unrealized potential and the decreasing liklihood of realizing that potential. Looking at the careers of the Stars and Regulars listed above, I do notice that most of them posted Jones-like stats early in their careers, but it seems that more often than not it was only for the first year (or even half-season) or so. Jones has been kinda meh now for four years.

    I suppose it’s never too late for him to flick a switch and mimic Aramis or Crawford (the two who stood out to me as taking a few years to develop) although neither of them started with K% as high as Jones.

    To your point, I think the validity of these assessments and arguments does change when you take into account the unique circumstances of the Orioles who need big-time players to make the playoffs.

    Comment by MikeM — January 6, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  28. You really have to look at what the basis for the “bad CF” tag is based on and then ask yourself, “Is that really accurate?”

    There’s proof within UZR that shows that may not be the case.

    Comment by Chris in Hawaii — January 6, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  29. Excellent points. Swing % along can’t be the factor that leads to a conclusion that Adam Jones is grouped with the players above. I see Jeff Francouer in a corner.

    Comment by NEBravesfan33 — January 6, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  30. Give us a break, our team has made no moves this offseason following an epic collapse that most have already forgotten about thanks to the green monster-sized shadow of the synchronous tailspin of RED SAAAAAWX NATION!!!!1111!!!!!11YOUK!!!!!FINGAARONBOONE!1!!!!111BENAFFLECKHAVEMYBABY!!!!!1111!!!!!!GAAAAAAAAH!!!!CHOW-DAH!!!!!

    Comment by MikeM — January 6, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  31. Comparing Kemp to Adam Jones is apples and oranges – suggesting that Jones has the potential for Kemp-like production is extremely far-fetched. Both hitters started out in roughly the same statistical territory in terms of walks and strikeouts (5% BB / 20% K), but their paths have diverged greatly since then. Kemp’s BB % has increased greatly, and his ISO has also trended up significantly since his early years. In contrast, Jones has shown no real offensive progression – it appears that he’ll give you a ~110 wRC+ with substandard defense in CF (the same thing he’s been doing for the last several years). The projections on Fangraphs have Jones essentially repeating his 2011 line next season, and while that makes a good player, Jones’ ceiling is probably about 4 WAR unless he can learn to take walks or hit for a very high BABIP.

    On that point: Kemp put up double Jones’ WAR in their respective Age 23 and 24 seasons. Jones would be a different player than he has to date in order to reach even half of Kemp’s 8.7 WAR from his Age 26 sesaon. Suggesting that Jones might follow Kemp’s development path simply because they’re both young right-handed hitting CFs who play poor defense is just plain silly. They’re fundamentally different players.

    Comment by NickH — January 6, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  32. So JJ would get shellacked in the AL East… we’re agreed on that, right? Where would Prado realistically fit in? 2nd to spell Roberts? 3rd to be rid of Reynolds glove? Somewhere OF to replace Jones? Agree or disagree with the anticipated future value, this just doesn’t feel like the right fit for me. Why the hurry?

    Comment by shibboleth — January 6, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  33. The Orioles suck. They need to rebuild their organization from the ground up. This isn’t a question of the value of Jones versus Jurrjens/Prado, but rather it is a question of whether those are they TYPE of players that the Orioles should be trading Jones (probably their best trade chip) for.

    Prado is going into his age 28 season and Jurrjens his age 26. These guys will not make the Orioles any better than they are currently and will most likely not be around if/when the rebuild actually starts bearing some fruit in a few years.

    What the Orioles need in a trade for Jones is a mix of high-end and mid-level prospects to add to the system. The Braves don’t want to move their best prospects so they don’t match up with what the Orioles need in return for Jones. If the Orioles were on the cusp of contention and needed a SP and super-UTIL guy, the value would probably be about right and this could happen.

    Comment by CT — January 6, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  34. We’ve seen enough Jeff Francoeur not trade for guy who’s a ticking clock to “figure it all out.” They’re both just essentially corner outfielders that occasionally turn on a fastball who’ll strike out more than 3 times as much as they walk (or over 4 times in Jones’ case). Pass.

    Comment by Dekker — January 6, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  35. I agree. This has been the problem the whole time. This trade doesn’t make sense for either side. It’s been trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Baltimore doesn’t need JJ or Prado, they need the prospects. Atlanta won’t give up both JJ and Prado without getting an established star back. I can’t believe how long this rumor has gone on.

    Comment by peachesnnuts — January 6, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  36. Chet Lemon was never thought to have superstar upside and was a shade faster, at best, than is Jones. Great comp though, and Jones is just about to show what his upside will be. Very exciting player to have before you, 150 or so nights/days a year.

    Comment by Chet Lemon — January 6, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  37. I guess for me it comes down to the balancing of a player’s unrealized potential and the decreasing liklihood of realizing that potential.

    Same here.

    I, personally don’t see Jones as being all that similar to Kemp. In the 1st 6 seasons, Kemp put up 3 seasons that were higher WAR than Jones’s best season.

    Kemp’s problem is that he’s either been awesome or terrible. He’s been all over the map. Given that his defense killed his WAR in 2010 and that ’10 defense is so far out of line with with the rest of his metrics, we can call that a fluke.

    Jones, on the other hand has been very consistent in his small incremental WAR improvement each year.

    The players that Baltimore would prefer Jones ot be “like” would all have had a 5 WAR season by this point in their career. Jones hasn’t been close to that.

    He may potentially have a 3 WAR season at some point, but the guys that are premium on that lists have career BABIPs that are much higher because they hit the ball so much harder.

    It’s one thing to just look at swing and misses and count that as a similarity, but hitting the ball hard is a key component in effective contact. So, Jones swing and misses as much or more than others while hitting the ball with less authority. That doesn’t signal to me that he’ll have an offensive season where he breaks out for 6 WAR or more.

    It also makes me wonder if we over-value his “athleticism” in that his “athleticism” seems more suited for another sport in that he doesn’t have that explosive burst at the plate, either due to lack of ability and/or mechanics.

    His career path, IMO, is “regular starter” with his team continually waiting for him to have THAT 6 WAR season … that never comes.

    Baltimore seemingly thinks he’ll become Andrew McCutchen … and he never will.

    The guys that broke out into “stars” had at least one 5 WAR season in their first 6. They didn’t consistently get in between 1.5 and 3.0 WAR each and every year.

    At this point I think we can say “We know who Adam Jones Is” … and he’s not who Baltimore thinks he is.

    Even Vernon Wells had a better start to his career.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 6, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  38. I totally disagree with the statement that “what Adam Jones could be is worth a lot more than Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens. ”

    Matt Holliday has a career OBP of .388, his first three years OBP were .349, .361 and .387. Jones career OBP is .319, here is how Jones compares to the folks on the list above.

    Corey Patterson – .290
    Jose Lopez – .294
    Joe Crede – .304
    Francoeur – .313
    Jacobs – .313
    Jay Gibbons – .315
    Cantu – .316
    Phillips – .322
    Wells – .323

    So Adam Jones falls right in with the “busts” and might have a ceiling of “decent role player” if…if he improves on offense and defense.

    No way Jones is worth an all-star 2B who had OPSed of .800+ in 2008 – 2010 and was on track to do it again in 2011 before an injury. And no way is Jones worth a young all-star SP who is a real good #3 and maybe a solid #2 SP.

    Comment by ColoradoBravesFan — January 6, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

  39. Sorry. Reformat.

    I guess for me it comes down to the balancing of a player’s unrealized potential and the decreasing liklihood of realizing that potential.

    Same here.

    I, personally don’t see Jones as being all that similar to Kemp. In the 1st 6 seasons, Kemp put up 3 seasons that were higher WAR than Jones’s best season.

    Kemp’s problem is that he’s either been awesome or terrible. He’s been all over the map. Given that his defense killed his WAR in 2010 and that ’10 defense is so far out of line with with the rest of his metrics, we can call that a fluke.

    Jones, on the other hand has been very consistent in his small incremental WAR improvement each year.

    The players that Baltimore would prefer Jones ot be “like” would all have had a 5 WAR season by this point in their career. Jones hasn’t been close to that.

    He may potentially have a 3 WAR season at some point, but the guys that are premium on that lists have career BABIPs that are much higher because they hit the ball so much harder.

    It’s one thing to just look at swing and misses and count that as a similarity, but hitting the ball hard is a key component in effective contact. So, Jones swing and misses as much or more than others while hitting the ball with less authority. That doesn’t signal to me that he’ll have an offensive season where he breaks out for 6 WAR or more.

    It also makes me wonder if we over-value his “athleticism” in that his “athleticism” seems more suited for another sport in that he doesn’t have that explosive burst at the plate, either due to lack of ability and/or mechanics.

    His career path, IMO, is “regular starter” with his team continually waiting for him to have THAT 6 WAR season … that never comes.

    Baltimore seemingly thinks he’ll become Andrew McCutchen … and he never will.

    The guys that broke out into “stars” had at least one 5 WAR season in their first 6. They didn’t consistently get in between 1.5 and 3.0 WAR each and every year.

    At this point I think we can say “We know who Adam Jones Is” … and he’s not who Baltimore thinks he is.

    Even Vernon Wells had a better start to his career.

    Adam Jones’s “skills” (i.e. plate discipline, etc) aren’t getting ebtter either. That exact opposite of what the “future stars” did.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 6, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  40. Adam Jones isnt an upgrade offensively in LF for the Braves and thats their primary focus, his value is in CF. Check ZIPS projections/WAR values for both Adam Jones and Martin Prado. They are essentially the same in every category. Adam would be an upgrade defensively sure, but then the Braves will be missing a backup for Chipper. If the Braves are going to package this pair then they need an upgrade offensively in LF. Adam Jones doesnt provide that.

    Comment by csg — January 6, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  41. Still waiting on an .800OPS from Adam Jones. It’ll be hard sticking him in LF with that offensive line.

    Comment by csg — January 6, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  42. True enough, but both individually will likely be equal in value to Adam Jones.

    Of the 14 stars or semi-stars how many of them took 2400 PAs to become so. And how many of them got better on defense after age 25?

    At some point players are what they are–seeing Adam Jones as having a boatload of surplus value because of potential is grasping at straws after this much MLB playing time.

    Comment by Dan — January 6, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

  43. Some people make Braves fans look bad.. Anyways, Jones is tremendously overrated and there is no way on earth he could ever be worth both Prado AND Jurrjens. That’s criminal.

    Comment by Brandon — January 6, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  44. I love the way Braves fans will go on and on about Jones’ stats and then tout Jurrjens, calling him an AllStar (which Jones also is) without mentioning his peripherals.

    What is in the Altlanta crack these days?

    Comment by Chris in Hawaii — January 6, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  45. How about the Orioles need surplus value. We are talking about 3 players with similar team control, so if I am a rebuilding team, I take the package likely to produce the most surplus value, and then flip those guys a year from now for pieces for the future.

    Holding onto Adam Jones because he has a 5-10% chance of turning into a 5+ win player in the next 2 years is a bad gamble because there is a 90-95% chance of getting nothing from Adam Jones that will be on the next good Orioles team.

    And before you argue that Baltimore could still flip Jones a year from now–look at the current asking price. It is silly to think that the Orioles front office will alter their perceived value of Jones such that the acquisition cost will be palatable to another team.

    Comment by Dan — January 6, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  46. This Braves fan is VERY happy that Prado and Jurrjens weren’t traded for Jones. I am VERY happy to keep both of them.

    The Braves just need to trade Jurrjens for prospects and use the money saved to sign Cody Ross. Back-up CF problem solved.

    Comment by JT Grace — January 6, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  47. Although you lump Adam Jones into the same category as many elites, you failed to mentioned their respective ISO’s are measurably different. Adam Jones barely cracks your threshold. Ryan Braun, for example, is in the top 10 percentile, while Adam Jones is slightly above league average. Another issue I have with your arguement is that you narrow down the sample size significantly by imposing age and swing % restrictions. Since when do these measurements imply success at the major league level?

    By the numbers, Adam Jones is seemingly the same player he’s always been. This includes the minor leagues, where his most success came in the hitter friendly PCL. Although you can compare Adam Jones to stars by cherry picking statistics, he has yet to produce the numbers typically correlated to success.

    Here’s a few other names of similar players (all with arguably better defense per UZR). Preston Wilson, Jacque Jones and Jose Cruz Jr. Additionally, I can tie them to Adam Jones with 2 advanced statistics measurements if you’d like… and I can pick ones less open ended than ‘above average ISO’ and a statistic not known for predicating hitting improvement.

    Comment by dyaf96 — January 6, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  48. Both Jurrjens AND Jones are tremendously overrated by their respective fan bases. That’s why I say a 3 way trade of Jurrjens for prospects and the prospects to the Orioles with Jones coming to the Braves would be the best case scenario for both teams. Unfortunately, the Orioles GM seems to be under the delusion that Jones is worth much more than that. He isn’t.

    Comment by JT Grace — January 6, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  49. If Adam Jones is so valuable why aren’t teams knocking down the door trying to trade their top prospects for him?

    Comment by JT Grace — January 6, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  50. From a realistic Braves fan–Jurrjens is probably a #3-4 starter. He’s a good pitcher, but not a front of the rotation guy. So he’s useful.

    Prado is a better offensive player than Jones, unless you think last year’s staph infection impacted performance is a better representation of Prado’s offense. I don’t–I think he’s the .350 wOBA player he was prior to last year. He’s not a guy who walks a lot or hits for a lot of power, but he has been a high BABIP guy in both his MiLB and MLB careers prior to 2011, and I expect him to return to that next year. Even as a below average 2B, that kind of offensive output is likely to make Prado more valuable than Jones. As a LF, it’s probably a wash.

    Comment by Dan — January 6, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  51. You can compare probably hundreds of players (maybe thousands?) with roughly 10 WAR for the aged 21-25 seasons; however, if he continues to perform at this level, Kemp is the exception and not the rule.

    Comment by dyaf96 — January 6, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  52. thats interesting hawaii. i would like more data on this. i have heard of this in regards to colorado as well. has there been an article here about this? to use the baltimore example u could see how outfielders in the al east compare while playing in other parks as opposed to baltimore. u could do other guys too but the sample size would b small. its interesting i would like to know more.

    Comment by joel p — January 6, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  53. Look at Dan Uggla’s career home/road UZR splits and then understand that UZR is UZR is UZR.

    -C

    Comment by cthabeerman — January 6, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  54. The problem I find with comparing Jones to all the people on the list, especially your list of closely-comparables, is that the majority of those great players were already well-established bats before the age of 25.

    In terms of Batting Runs Above Replacement in relation to the full list you presented, Jones’ most comparables are Gibbons, Crede, Cantu, Berroa and Kouzmanoff. The only players on the list that had comparable or worse bats than Jones before 26 that turned into anything better than role players are Brandon Phillips and Aramis Ramirez, and they were both late bloomers that had already been discarded by their teams before they came into their own.

    Your list of comparables looks really nice at the top, but I find it hard to compare Jones to players that had ridiculously greater amounts of production prior to the age of 26.

    Upside is great, but production matters as well. Jones hasn’t done it yet.

    -C

    Comment by cthabeerman — January 6, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  55. I think the biggest takeaway from this article is the fact that it makes 0 sense from an organizational point of view for the Orioles to trade Jones for Prado and Jurrjens. Teams in the Orioles position have nothing to gain by trading a player with some upside potential left for two players without any.

    Comment by Colin — January 6, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  56. Yeah, I’d hate for Jurrjens to replicate the first half of 2011…must have more upside or it isn’t worth it.

    -C

    Comment by cthabeerman — January 6, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  57. On Aug 20th last year, Adam Jones sported an .830 OPS. He experienced some injury issues with thumb and ribs which caused his batting stats to plummet for the last month plus of the season.

    It’s very likely that Adam Jones is a much better hitter than given credit in the stat and fan community. Minus those injuries, everyone would be discussing his progression, rather than railing on OBP.

    Comment by Damien — January 6, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  58. Exactly. Jones may still have all the tools, but their is mounting evidence to suggest that he is, in fact, a finished product.

    Comment by Dan — January 6, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  59. *there*

    Comment by Dan — January 6, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  60. Yep, it makes zero sense for both clubs. If the O’s want to trade Jones then they need cheap future prospects. If the Braves trade JJ and Prado then they need a controllable upgrade in LF.

    Comment by csg — January 6, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  61. If we remove Jone’s bad performance due to injuries/etc then we have to do the same for everyone else. We can’t take Jones’s “great and healthy” stats and compare them to everyone else’s “average” or “combination” of stats.

    Bottom line is Jones hasn’t produced a 4+ WAR season or greater by age 25. The guys listed in his comparables as “Future Stars” all have had a 5+ WAR season by now.

    It’s possible that he explodes into this star that they think he will be, but it’s against the odds. We’re looking at “regular starter” status for Jones.

    Basically, for Jones, to have a 5+ WAR season he’s going to have to have a “Mauer Year”, where he put up career highs in BB%, BABIP, HR/FB%, etc and in the same year.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 6, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  62. 10 Most Similar Players to Adam Jones (B-ref.com)
    ———————————————–
    Rocco Baldelli (961)
    Chris Singleton (952)
    Mark Carreon (952)
    Junior Felix (951)
    Hank Edwards (951)
    Chad Tracy (950)
    Johnny Rizzo (947)
    Butch Huskey (947)
    Alex Gordon (946)
    Bobby Estalella (942)

    It does get better if you look at most similar batters by age 25 …

    Dave Winfield (975) *
    Reggie Smith (963)
    Chili Davis (957)
    Gary Matthews (955)
    Sixto Lezcano (953)
    Andre Dawson (951) *
    Al Oliver (951)
    Lee Mazzilli (949)
    Dwight Evans (948)
    Sammy Sosa (947)

    ———————————–

    I wonder how many batters, or what % of players, obtain 2500 PA by age 25? He’s probably already in rare company just for that. I doubt very many players with 2000+ PA by age 25 did not go on to have long, good careers.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 6, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  63. Unless the players with no upside are better than the one with upside…

    I could be wrong, but almost every guy in the top 14 on that list had put up a significantly better offensive performance in either his first 4 years or before 25. The ones who didn’t (Phillips, Aramis) were different circumstances as previously mentioned by someone else.

    Comment by Dan — January 6, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  64. Derek Jeter has a career UZR/150 away from Yankee stadium of +0.6 (at home ~ -10)

    Average defender, with just Yankee stadium issues? (and this is a rather massive sample size)

    Comment by Joe — January 6, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  65. a little harsh on Kouz, don’t you think? averaged 2.8 WAR from 2007-2010, that’s better than Francoeur, right?

    Comment by brendan — January 6, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  66. Doesn’t this work both ways? Braves aren’t exactly fending off clamoring suitors for JJ and/or Prado .

    Comment by Earz — January 6, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  67. I don’t disagree, I think it is highly unlikely that Jones gets much better at all. That said, trading him only makes sense if the O’s are getting cost controlled prospects in return. If they can make that happen they should do the deal but they are no where near close enough to deal for guys like Prado and Jurrjens.

    Comment by Colin — January 6, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

  68. I think the Baldelli comparison is pretty accurate and fair. Right now he’s basically Baldelli without the chronic injuries which is not a bad thing to have.

    Comment by Colin — January 6, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  69. DRS didn’t consider Jones a below average CF until last season. Scouting on his defense has never been unfavorable – in fact, Keith Law has pegged his potential defense in center as “great” in the past. To say he’s bad in center based on his UZR numbers is simply not the whole story.

    Comment by JMorrow — January 6, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  70. For me It’s because OBP and SLG% show results and I don’t know which pitching “stats” produce results. I don’t mention pitching peripherals for JJ because I just do not have enough of an understanding of which ones produce results.

    For example JJ’s SO/9, H/9 and HR/9 compare to Greg Maddux. Maddux just never walked anyone. Roger Clemens gave up one more H/9 and struck out about 2 more batters/9 than Jurrjens. Is that the difference between Clemens and Jurrjens… 3 base runners per 9 innings? I don’t think so … but what stat/peripheral or group relates best to ERA, or keeping the other team from scoring. Is it SLG% against… Maddux in his prime almost never gave up homeruns(0.2/9)

    But JJ is most like Mark Buehle, Shawn Marcum or Chris Young. Those are the guys whose peripherals I think most match Jurrjens.

    Comment by ColoradoBravesFan — January 6, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  71. Jurrjens is a mid rotation starter at best. Prado has had a couple of quality seasons but much of his offensive value has been BABIP fueled, and thus his upside is undoubtedly limited. And despite Jones’ low career OBP, he has been roughly a league average hitter who has played a slightly questionable center field. That’s still much more valuable than the busts you listed. You also cannot ignore that scouts have predicted for years that Jones would be a star (and that his tools have not been diminished) and he is just entering his age 26 season.

    Comment by JMorrow — January 6, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

  72. No, there isn’t. He’s entering his age 26 season – he’s only entering what should be his prime years. I’d understand if he was a few years older and you claimed this, but that is not the case. And it’s not as if his tools have diminished any, either.

    Comment by JMorrow — January 6, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

  73. Jurrjens has also provided less than 3 WAR over the past two years. You say they have had very similar careers so far, but one Jones has always been regarded as a future star whose tools still remain – he just hasn’t improved much yet. Sure, Prado’s SLG% hasn’t been much less, but his power upside is limited, while Jones’ is definitely not.

    The evidence does not adequately suggest that Jones is a terrible defensive CF. While his UZR numbers are certainly mediocre, his DRS numbers have been positive until last season. Additionally, the scouting on his defense has never been so negative, and has actually been largely positive – I remarked further down about how, for one, Keith Law scouted Jones positively.

    You are also overstating Jones’ platoon split – see some past Fangraphs articles about the nature of platoon splits. In short, though, there is not enough information to conclude he is even close to that bad against lefties.

    I understand the argument about why you think Jones may be overrated. But the fact remains that Jones is still in a position to fulfill his potential. He is entering his age 26 season, so he is not even in his prime. His physical skills remain. He could certainly be worth more value than those two combined – their upsides have been overestimated (when compared against scouting reports) numerous times in this comments section. Prado has limited offensive upside. Jurrjens is a mid guy at best. Lastly, don’t forget that Jones has played his whole career in the AL East.

    Comment by JMorrow — January 6, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  74. Sounds like someone started out with a theory, ‘Adam Jones will be a great player’ and was determined by hell or high water to find stats that might prove it.

    Comment by Van — January 6, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

  75. Dave, thanks for taking the time to write this article. I am a Braves fan and I appreciate the contrasting perspective. To me, this debate is analogous to the cliche baseball argument of touted prospects vs. established major leaguer with reliable track record; though, turned on its head a bit.

    I would not be completely opposed to packaging Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado and one of Zeke Spruill or Carlos Perez for Adam Jones although I doubt that gets it done. Carlos Perez is a 20 y/o LHP starter with a low to mid 90s heavy sinker, a sometimes plus curveball and iffy changeup. His ERA was gruesome this past (4.79) year in Class A Rome but his FIP was respectable (3.83). He is a groundball pitcher with an increasing penchant for striking batters out (7.93/9 in 2011) and he is a true prospect. He is one breakthrough season away from being elite a la Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino.

    Secondarily it makes more sense to send Jurrjens, Carlos Perez and Zeke Spruill to the O’s for Adam Jones, as the Braves have a real need in keeping Prado around, but not JJ.

    Comment by DuPu — January 6, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  76. and better mtDNA from his mama

    Comment by cable fixer — January 6, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  77. couldn’t agree more…a terrific piece.

    i have no idea how this rumor still has legs.

    Comment by regulate — January 6, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  78. yeah, the lowly BB% and BB/K ratio leaves him in scary territory for me. He reminds me of a ground ball hitting version of Alfonso Soriano in some respects. Many of the players on the better half of the list showed some balance the first 2-3 years within these categories. Adam Jones regressed a bit.

    Comment by baty — January 6, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  79. Great article!

    Comment by John — January 6, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  80. Maybe Im missing it, but what does that do for the Braves. Jones and Prado are essentially the same hitter. Jones doesnt improve the Braves roster over the current crop, then you want to give them a starter and prospects. Makes zero sense.

    Comment by csg — January 6, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  81. I accidentally gave a thumbs down to your post because I mistook it for the reply button, haha. Sorry, just me being a FG newb. I did not mean it.

    Anyway, csg, I don’t know if the Braves intend to legitimately pursue an extension with Michael Bourn, but in the event that he is too expensive, they have no true replacement for CF, barring Mycal Jones playing out of his mind in AAA in 2012.

    If they don’t pursue Bourn, they may look to acquiring a CF via trade, and Wren drafted Adam Jones, hence this proposal.

    As stated, people are banking on what Adam Jones could become, not what he is now. He is very athletic and has tons of tools, and to many scouts he screams potential. If he puts it together, he could be extended and the Braves have a long-term CF.

    Or it could blow in their face, then they lose two good pitching prospects and a present day #3-4 starter in a first division team, per my trade proposal.

    Comment by DuPu — January 6, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  82. Has anyone complained about the title yet? It seems obligatory.

    Comment by DuPu — January 6, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  83. You all understand that the “similar batters” is comparing the LIFETIME stats of those players to Adam Jones… so those are his comps if his career ended, right now… today.

    The very relevant comps are the aged based scores… “similar batters through 25″ in Jones’ case.

    I also had looked up the B-ref similarity scores because I didn’t have a feel for Jones, and I really didn’t think he was worth Jurrjens and Prado. I was dead wrong. That list of age 25 comps floored me. I would be extremely hesitant to trade Jones.

    Comment by Dave S — January 6, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  84. Same feeling here. To me nothing has been proven. The waters are still as mucky from beginning to end of article. The comparables are nice but not a mathematical proof of anything. You could pick different stats and come up with different buckets of players. Hypothesis could be right, conclusion could be right… but I for one can’t connect the dots between the two from this.
    vr, Xei

    Comment by xeifrank — January 7, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  85. Dave, I appreciate the article. I am a Braves fan, and I absolutely concede that Jurrjens is a back-end starter, and an injury prone one at that.

    However, I do feel like you are under-rating Martin Prado. He was very consistent player from 2008-2010 as an average defensive 2B with overall above average offense. He had a rough year this year, but there are two reasons I believe it was a fluke. First, he was bedridden for a month midseason with a fluke illness and was never the same afterwards. Second, he put up an uncharacteristic .260 BABIP. If he is traded as a 2B and his BABIP rebounds to his career average, there is no reason to think he wouldn’t be a 3.5ish win player. His arb salary will be held down by his off year, and he could really prove to be pretty valuable.

    I understand the skepticism of Jurrjens, but Prado could really help somebody out in the middle infield. With two years of team control, he should show at least modest value on the trade market.

    Lastly, I heartily disagree with your assertion that because Jurrjens/Prado haven’t been traded yet, they aren’t viewed as valuable. If Jones is really available, why aren’t teams throwing top prospects at Baltimore? I think this has more to do with Frank Wren than the value of Jurrjens and Prado.

    I am a huge fan of your work Dave, but I strongly disagree with a couple of your base premises in this article.

    Comment by Orange — January 7, 2012 @ 12:01 am

  86. I feel like the title of this article could be:
    Adam Jones, similar to some really good players when looking at mostly arbitrary criteria.

    Comment by Bronnt — January 7, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  87. How can you look at Jones and talk about “potential” when he’s 26? That’s pretty close to the statistical prime of 27. Jurrjens is also going into his age 26 season and has been better as a pitcher than Jones has been as a hitter to this point. Prado was about as good as Jones through his age 26 season and is more versitile. Jones statistically shouldn’t improve any more than Jurrjens or much more than Prado and has less position versatility than Prado. I think this is a stretch but a good article to show another side. Jones maybe just isn’t that good. At 25 he should have shown more by now; certainly more than to trade 2 guys who are at a similar age and have already proven to be better.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 7, 2012 @ 4:41 am

  88. @ JT Grace –

    Why is it that teams are only offering “scraps” for them if their value is so high?

    The Reds offered quite a lot for Latos and the Nationals gave up quite a lot for Gonzalez. Not all teams are just offering other teams their “scraps.” Good young 2B and starting pitchers have value. Teams recognize that and are willing to pay for it. Prado and Jurrjens are not what many Braves’ fans seem to think they are.

    Comment by chuckb — January 7, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  89. It’s worth pointing out that Jones’s UZR/150 for his career is -3.4. Even if there’s no improvement in his defense, that only makes him slightly below average. I wouldn’t call him a “bad defensive CF.”

    Comment by chuckb — January 7, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  90. This.

    And those same-age comps comprise a pretty good list of players.

    The bottom line is that the Orioles have no need for 2 useful-parts guys who won’t make them any better appreciably. It’s entirely possible that Jones has topped out but they need to keep him around since he might turn into Dwight Evans or Reggie Smith — 2 really good players.

    Comment by chuckb — January 7, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  91. Home/Away splits are not “proof.” See Dan Uggla’s splits from his Marlins days. There was approximately the same amount of data on Uggla in FLA as there is on Jones, and the splits said the same thing.

    Obviously the scouting reports on these two players is/was not the same, but the point remains that sometimes the data just looks funny but doesn’t mean anything.

    Jones might be an average CF, but it’s pretty hard to say he’s better than average given the last 3 years of UZR data.

    Even if he’s average out there, he’s not a 4+ win player without additional offensive growth. And despite his obvious athleticism, the BB% and swing rates suggest that pitch recognition is the problem, which is much harder to correct.

    Comment by Dan — January 7, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  92. Why on earth would anyone give up ONE high-end prospect for a guy who hasn’t put it together?

    There are virtually zero examples in the last couple of years of teams dealing a high-end prospect for a player that is not an established star/semi-star. And many of the trades for stars have returned surprisingly light packages of young talent.

    Comment by Dan — January 7, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  93. Hitters have significant control over their BABIP. That’s why guys like Ichiro who have had a high BABIP in the past continue to post high BABIPs until their skills decline. Prado’s offensive ceiling is limited by his lack of plus power, but that has nothing to do with his BABIP.

    Comment by Dan — January 7, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  94. So we should discount the first 2400 ABs because he’s only 26? He may have incremental improvements left in him, but find me a guy in the comparables who flipped a switch after 2400 ABs.

    The comparables Dave listed just aren’t very similar to Jones.

    Jones is likely to be a solid regular going forward, but the chances of him becoming a star are very slim.

    Comment by Dan — January 7, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  95. Yeah, I think the criteria should have been blown up when Miguel Cabrera showed up on the list. It’s way too vague and can be pretty misleading.

    I think very similar articles could be written for or against many young high ceiling prospects as they appear to fall short of expectations even though they are still reasonable contributors.

    Comment by baty — January 7, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  96. Fixating on what we view as “tools” is the reason why we always expect more than what that baseball player is capable of producing.

    While Adam has plenty of tools, not one has ever shown to be great, exceptional, or “future star quality”. He’s pretty good at doing a little of everything, and he’s always been that way.

    But yes, either way, I’ll keep waiting for Billy Butler to turn it on :)

    Comment by baty — January 7, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  97. A couple of things…

    If you’ve watched Jones play centerfield with any regularity, you’ll probably agree with the scouts – he’s pretty good in the field, probably above average, and certainly not below average. Can we finally admit that UZR is not a good YEAR to YEAR measure of fielding? Even Tango admits that it takes 3 years data to field an appropriate sample size. Case in point – Jacoby Ellsbury in his last two full seasons goes from one of worst to among the best fielders at the position. Do we really think that his abilities in the field are that much different. Ron Shandler states that even in hitting peripheral stats, where the sample sizes are much bigger, it takes 3 years to show that a player actually owns the skills. How much more difficult then, on the fielding side if you use UZR to establish a players skill level?

    Since UZR is unreliable, at least year to year then by extension so is WAR for position players. Don’t get me wrong, WAR is fine for painting with a broad brush over time. But since it’s not reliable year to year, using it to compare progression for Jones or anyone else might be misleading.

    Comment by j36t — January 7, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  98. Look, Jones is probably one of the top 6 young OFs in the game today. A GM like Jim D. can put pieces around him to help him prevent runs and become even more valuable than he already is. Jurrjens+ is simply not going to get it done.

    Comment by Kyle K. — January 7, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  99. Jones walked 6.9% of the time in his age 23 season.

    Comment by smallflowers — January 7, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  100. Prado is the same hitter as Jones, but he can play more positions. So when the other Jones gets hurt, you still have a solid bat. I like the idea of his trade with Jurrjens and lower level pitching prospects. I think it makes more sense for Baltimore too.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 7, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  101. I’ve read this far to make sure one name was mentioned: Andre Dawson. Since Jones has come into the league, that has been his most major comp – not Aramis, Kemp, etc that have been mentioned in this article and comments section. Andre Dawson’s walk rates and tools rate very similarly to Jones through his age. With the exception of a handful of extra walks and doubles by Dawson in his age 25 season, they have had remarkably similar careers thus far. I don’t believe Dawson should be in the Hall, and I don’t think Jones will be there one day, but the list of old-school-tools players on the Winfield-led list above is how I view Jones.

    Comment by smallflowers — January 7, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  102. When I look at position player WAR, if I see their defense WAR is something like “0.1, -0.2, 1.3, 0.2″ I assume the 1.3 isn’t a “fluke” good season, but probably more just a statistical mistake with how it’s measured.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 7, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  103. Young based on what? Calling a player going into his age 26 season “young” makes about as much sense as calling a player going into his age 28 season “old”. If 27 is the generally accepted prime of a player (typically), then how is 1 year before that young? To me “young” implies there is a lot of growth left. With Jones there isn’t. He is likely as good now as he’ll ever be. Jones is likely closer to declining than getting significantly better. It’s probably due to what the media says. I heard someone say “and CJ Wilson, at 29, is still young” which is ridiculous. Unless you mean “young” as in, he shouldn’t die anytime soon, I think calling any player 25 and older “young” doesn’t really make that much sense in baseball.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 7, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  104. Can we just get a full article for your disdain for Jurrjens so we don’t waste 2-3 chat questions every time about it? I feel like there’s an ulterior motive for this article. Or is it just as simple as XFIP-ERA

    Comment by Reality — January 7, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  105. I understand that entirely, but that wasn’t my point. I meant to express that Prado’s upside is limited due to his offensive value being mostly tied to his production once the ball has been put in play. Sure, hitters vary wildly as to how high their BABIP will be on average. People can justify his lack of health last season all they want, but they cannot disregard that his BABIP dropped dramatically last season. Not to say that I think it will stay that low; the problem is determining what his offensive value actually is since getting many base hits can be a somewhat volatile way of measuring a hitter’s value. Also, Prado’s offensive ceiling is limited not only by his lack of power, but also that he does not draw many walks. You miscomprehended what I was arguing, and the onus is on you for not addressing the issue at hand.

    Comment by JMorrow — January 7, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  106. @Dan: Just to be clear, I have no intention of endorsing the comparable players Dave mentioned, as I find his criteria for them to be a bit questionable. However, you are not addressing what I said at all. I never said to ignore his career to date. I’m saying that it’s clearly too early in Jones’ career to know that he’s going to only produce at this level (or worse) for the remainder of his career, and by your analysis, you seem to be comfortable making this unsubstantiated jump.

    You would like to see one player who “flipped the switch?” I can’t find one just like Jones. But Andre Dawson, who was admittedly better than Jones even at the same age, did not produce at nearly the level at ages 22-24 as he did in his prime. He’s a similar player in many ways. The same applies with Al Oliver. True, Jones has been through his age 25 season and is slightly behind these two. But these two comparable players definitely refutes your conclusion that Jones will undoubtedly remain the same. The chance that he develops into an above average regular (or more) is alive and well.

    @Baty: That’s not really correct. Scouting, and hence, evaluating tools, is not the problem in evaluating players. Sometimes they just don’t live up to their billing. But we shouldn’t give up just because the player, in this case Jones, is very young and has not lived up to expectations. In fact, at this age, I would argue that we should still expect him to live up to some of that potential. Scouts did think Jones would be a future star, and most analysts have not yet soured on him. And yes, here’s to hoping on Butler, too.

    Comment by JMorrow — January 7, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  107. I think we can agree that the trade proposal isn’t a match for either team (Orioles need high upside prospects and the Braves need a LF) but JJ and Prado, combined, have more value than Jones. While he does have upside, his upside is about equal to what Prado already is at 2nd and it’s highly unlikely that Jones even reaches that potential due to his distaste for walks. On top of that, his BB% is actually decreasing 4.7% this year versus 4.8% for his career.

    Comment by Heyward — January 7, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

  108. The problem is that it is off base. I think we can agree that the trade proposal isn’t a match for either team (Orioles need high upside prospects and the Braves need a LF) but JJ and Prado, combined, have more value than Jones. While he does have upside, his upside is about equal to what Prado already is at 2nd and it’s highly unlikely that Jones even reaches that potential due to his distaste for walks. On top of that, his BB% is actually decreasing 4.7% this year versus 4.8% for his career. He’s really not that young anymore and I don’t know why we would assume a huge growth for him. Is his walk rate going to suddenly spike? No. Is his power going to dramatically increase again? Probably not he just jumped to 25 homeruns and I think he’s pretty much peaked out there. I’m extremely dissapointed that Wren even offered what he did.

    Comment by Heyward — January 7, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  109. Simple solution. Don’t use one year UZRs or UZR at all. For example the Fans Scouting Report (FSR) has Adam Jones as a slightly above average CF (+2.1 runs for 2012 poll).

    Comment by xeifrank — January 7, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  110. chuckb, were Latos and Gonzalez both coming off down years?

    Comment by Ben — January 8, 2012 @ 1:15 am

  111. and followed it up with a 3.7% and 4.7%?

    Comment by baty — January 8, 2012 @ 1:49 am

  112. The criteria speaks to a very broad type of player. It doesn’t speak specifically towards what Adam Jones COULD be:

    If you’re a young, powerful athlete who likes to swing a lot and you find yourself getting regular playing time at the MLB level at a young age, you might be a Hall of Famer or you might be a mirage. At the very least you’ll stick around long enough to make yourself some money.

    The only lesson of this article I can take away is that people can’t help but fixate on the ceiling that physical ability provides if you focus on the article’s criteria as well as the list it assembles. The fact that Miguel Cabrera is even there proves the craziness we can’t help. Even though each of these players did enter the league with lots of raw physical skills, many of them had dramatically skill sets, and we know there’s clearly more to the rise and fall of these young players than what raw physical skills they had/have.

    I need to see something to explain how or why Adam Jones might be an unfinished product other than assuming he is because he’s performed well through the age of 25. Athletes similar to Adam have always been perceived as having more baseball room to grow, but his athleticism is what makes him the good ball player he is right now. It won’t make him a better hitter, it will only supplement his performance when/if he learns how to be a better hitter.

    The only statement I can form relative to Adam Jone’s trade value is that organizations will always give the benefit of the doubt to young athletic ball players, and no matter how good they are, they will most likely be valued more than what they really are because the potential appears to be more real. There’s potential forever, and there’s always someone who will use it as leverage and try to maximize the possibility (brilliantly or blindly). Open this specific study to include all baseball players, MILB and MLB who swing a lot with above average power production, and I imagine you’re going to ground the comparisons quite a bit.

    Comment by baty — January 8, 2012 @ 2:32 am

  113. sorry…

    Even though each of these players did enter the league with lots of raw physical skills, many of them had dramatically different skill sets, and we know there’s clearly more to the rise and fall of these young players than what raw physical skills they had/have :)

    Comment by baty — January 8, 2012 @ 2:37 am

  114. Adam Jones was moved all around the lineup and for the largest part of the year had Vlad The Hacker batting behind him,who posted career lows at almost every offensive position.I think that dramatically impacts his Walks per at bat,since his job was not too get on base but to put the ball in play and hit with some power and average,which he was exactly on track to do until his thumb injury.Additionally Markakis for him had a very subpar year batting in front of Jones,so sometimes you have to compare the players batting around them before you can make an accurate comparison.David Ortiz for example was a much better hitter with Manny behind him,and dropped off significantly when he didn’t have that added protection.That’s why Boston signed Gonzalez,and that didn’t play out consistently the way they had hoped.If Vlad or Nick would have put up just their average years,it would have made Adam Jones a much better player.I watched his progression this year and up until the thumb injury,he was doing a much better job at plate discipline.When he came back the pressure was put on him too post a .300,30 HR season,and he just wasn’t able to regain the same form,similar to what Prado went through,although less dramatic.I don’t think the trade makes sense for either team at this point,I still think the Orioles think Adam Jones will have a breakout year next year,and that they have already seen the BEST of Prado and JJ.Just one fan’s opinion.

    Comment by Burt — January 8, 2012 @ 3:05 am

  115. What kind of job do age comps do at predicting the future? I’d like to see a math number giving the percentage chance that Adam Jones has the same career as those players on his age comp list, with some kind of mathematical proof.
    vr, Xei

    Comment by xeifrank — January 8, 2012 @ 3:15 am

  116. My comment was meant to be a reply to Dave’s comment above that the Braves have been trying to trade Prado and Jurrjens with no luck.

    It does go both ways. Jurrjens is overrated and Jones is overrated.

    Comment by JT Grace — January 8, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  117. Jorge Cantu is a bust but Jay Gibbons is a Decent role player? Really? Wow. Just no.

    Comment by Robbied311 — January 8, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  118. I understand that the braves would be paying for what Jones could be, but you also have to take into account that trading two of Minor, Teheran, Delgado for him would be ridiculous. All three of them have higher upside, in my opinion, and none of them haven’t suggested a lack of progression. Adam Jones hasn’t exactly made huge strides in his career. At least with the aforementioned pitchers, none of them have given any reason to suspect a relatively uninspiring big league career.

    Also, I haven’t checked his home/road splits, but moving from Camden to Turner field would certainly deflate Jones’ hitting value.

    Comment by Randy Gnapoor — January 8, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  119. I would imagine there’s a HUGE selection bias for looking at players under the age of 25 with 2500 PAs.

    In other words, only really talented players are going to get that many PAs by the age of 25.

    So, many of them are going to be very, very good.

    What would be interesting is to take ALL of the players with 2000-3000 PA by age 25, and examine their average WAR/season … and then see if they were able to increase it (and by how much) in their future seasons.

    For example, Andre Dawson had more war in his ROOKIE season than Jones has had in ANY season. THEN he had 2 4 WAR seasons followed by 2 6 WAR seasons. Then a 7 WAR season followed by a 6 WAR season. So,i in his 1st 5 seasons Dawson had 25 WAR.

    In his 1st 4 seasons, Jones has had WARs of 1.8, 1.8, 2.6, 2.9 for a total of 9.1 WAR. After his 1st 4 seasons, Dawson had 18 WAR.

    So, basically Dawson had DOUBLE the value of Jones through their 1st 4 seasons.

    Jones essentially had a 3 WAR season in 2011 (2.9), ALL of Dawson;’s 1st 6 seasons were greater than 3 WAR and some of them much greater. I’m not sure if fWAR counts baserunning or stolen bases in WAR figures for Dawson’s playing days, but he was also stealing quite a few bases (118 through his 1st 4 seasons).

    I don’t view that as being very “comparable”.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 8, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  120. Let’s also remember that virtually all of the players on the thru age 25 comp list started their careers in the late sixties or the seventies. I love the B-Ref comp lists also but they have their limitations, i.e. they are not time-adjusted at all. If Adam Jones, using last year’s numbers, puts up 25HR and 83RBI with few walks in 1973, he might have been voted to the all-star team. In 2011, not so much. Also of note, probably the most telling numbers on those lists are OPS+, and Adam’s 101 beats only Sosa’s 100 on that list.

    Comment by bstar — January 8, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  121. @ Tango’s blog, this topic came up.

    I asked for information regarding players that had a large amount of PA through age 25, and whether there WAR increase over the next few seasons.

    ———————————

    A member named rwperu34 posted the following information …

    Players that had between 6.5-8.5 rWAR with > 1500 PA from 23-25 since 1993.

    1. Erstad
    2. Damon
    3. Rollins
    4. Furcal
    5. Castillo
    6. Renteria
    7. Crisp
    8. Casey
    9. Guzman

    They average 7.5 rWAR from 23-25, an exact match for Adam Jones.

    They average 9.1 WAR from 26-28, which lines up nicely with the 3 WAR projection for Jones. Of the 27 individual seasons, there were six at 5.9 WAR or higher (22%)including two from Erstad.

    Five of these player improved their WAR/yr by over 1 and three improved by over 1.8.

    The biggest improvement was from Erstad going from 2.4 WAR to 5.2 WAR.

    The biggest drop was from Christian Guzman going from 2.2 to 0.

    ——————————

    I looked up Erstad to see where he made his improvements and whether Jones might make similar improvements.

    1. Erstad had 8.8 fWAR in 2000 (WOW).
    2. 2.9 fWAR from defense alone (3.0 fWAR for defense alone the year before). Player both corner OF positions, as well as, CF.
    3. BABIP 60 pts higher than career average.
    4. 2nd highest walk rate of career.
    5. 2nd lowest K-Rate of his career.
    6. Highest wOBA (.411); 90 points over his career average.
    7. ISO 60 pts greater than career average.

    I wouldn’t consider Erstad to be a good comparable for Jones.

    That’s what gets me. Teams keep waiting for these “breakouts years” as if it signifies an increase in talent or the player “performing like we knew he could”, even though in reality it has more to do with BABIPs and HR/FB rates that they can never duplicate. Whether we call it luck or a fluke season, it doesn’t reflect an increase in true talent, and not often the player “finally figuring it out” or “putting it all together” or any of the other cliches broadcasters use to explain player performances that they don’t understand because they aren’t in line with what they’ve done before.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 9, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  122. I’ll admit up front that I am a Braves fan, although I think Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado are probably both being overrated by Braves fans. I should also admit that I have always felt players like Adam Jones and many others who play premium defensive positions and have some offensive tools, but don’t walk, such as Brandon Phillips or Starlin Castro, are overrated. Unless such a player is excellent defensively, I can see that there’s some value there, but the low OBP will always make me shy away as a fan. I don’t want my team trading for or signing players like this because their success is a product of their athleticism only, whereas the best players in baseball have athleticism AND plate discipline. It wouldn’t take a major injury to bring such a player down to replacement level, just a drop in BABIP or a nagging hamstring, say, that made them slower.

    But let’s leave my own feelings out of it. They don’t really matter. The objective problem with this article, I think, is the methodology by which Dave attempts to find possible comps for Adam Jones:

    “I grabbed a list of all player seasons from the last 10 years where the hitter was 25 or younger, swung at 50% or more of the pitches they were thrown, and posted an ISO of at least .150″

    For one thing, if we limit our study to just 10 years, we decrease our sample size down to unreliability, so I’ve got to question that. Secondly, why are we only interested in what percentage of pitches the player swings at and his ISO? Dave says we’re looking for young guys who made it to the show on the strength of their athleticism (I guess that’s the ISO?) but who weren’t polished (the swing rate). I’m not at all convinced that this is the right way to go. Sure, Jones is a free swinger, and sure, he hits for a bit of power. But wouldn’t the better methodology be to look at a larger sample, say, the last 50 years, but with much more specific criteria, eg a bunch of different stats? You’d probably get a similar number of results, but because your search was more specific to Jones’ skills, and because it was from a large sample, the results would be more reliable, right? A third problem–and maybe the biggest one–has already been mentioned in these comments: Most of the elite, All-star type players who showed up as comps to Jones in this article were in fact excellent Major League players within a year of being called up, but Jones wasn’t.

    I’m no expert here, but I’m skeptical of your methodology, Dave. Maybe somebody can set me straight if I’m off base here.

    Comment by Dave — January 10, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  123. If you think Prado is Jones’ upside, you should probably reread the article.

    Comment by Tim — January 10, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  124. There sure seems to be a lot more optimism going around in the saber community for Jones developing into a star than there ever was for Francoeur, and both players seem to be strikingly similar, to me:

    Jones’ career BB%: 4.8%
    Francoeur’s career BB%: 5.0%

    Jones’ career K%: 19.7%
    Francoeur’s career BB%: 17.7%

    Jones’ carer ISO: .161
    Francoeur’s career ISO: .162

    Two players couldn’t be much more similar in those three key measures than Jones and Francoeur.

    Dave did mention Francoeur as one comparable player in the article, but it seems to me that Jones is much closer to Francoeur than any of the other comparable players, for reasons that have already been mentioned by other commenters (other players displaying more power, more patience, or making more contact, in particular).

    If anything, Francoeur would seem to have more potential than Jones, despite Francoeur being more often derided within the saber community than mentioned as a possible future superstar. I was shocked to see that Francoeur is less than two years older than Jones, and Francoeur has already put up three seasonal WARs that equal or better Jones’ best seasonal WAR to date. Francoeur’s defense has consistently been rated as anywhere from slightly better to much better than Jones’ throughout both of their careers, to boot.

    Comment by Jair Jarrkjens — January 10, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

  125. Andre Dawson was within 1 WAR of his peak value by 26. He aslo put up a 140 wRC+ in his age 25 season.

    I’m not saying Jones won’t get better. But the chance of him turning in multiple 6 win seasons in the future (“a premium player at an up-the-middle position”) are very, very low. JJ and Prado might not have upside, but their present value is greater than Jones, and their future value over the next two years (all of the three have 2 years of team control) is very likely greater than Jones too.

    So, if we assume the MLB trade market is even semi-efficient, a team should be able to extract more in trade value during or after next season for Jurrjjens and Prado than Jones, unless Jones has a breakout season NEXT YEAR. If Jones doesn’t break out, the Orioles have already missed their best shot to cash him in for future value (which is what I personally believe).

    Comment by Dan — January 11, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  126. I already read it once and I disagree. Is that ok with you? Can I disagree with a fangraphs article? Prado is a 4 win player at 2nd and Jones is maybe a 4 win player in CF at best.

    Comment by Heyward — January 14, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

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