Andruw Jones Is Alive

George Romero may have never considered the possibility of smiling zombies. The walking undead Andruw Jones is infectious with smiling, and he’s spreading the condition all around the Southside of Chicago. He’s burying the rough seasons spent with the Dodgers and Rangers and crunching into opposing pitchers to the tune of a .295/.415/.750 line, or a .499 wOBA.

Jones has hit six home runs while shifting between the outfield and designated hitting. About 30% of his balls in play are turning into hits, which is well above his career average of 27.6%. His ISO is an insane .455 thanks to a 37.5% HR/FB rate. Jones’ descent from one of the best players in baseball to one of the game’s biggest enigmas began with an increase in grounders hit. Right now, he’s hitting the ball on the ground a little under one-third of the time. That would be a career low if that mark somehow holds static through season’s end.

Jones is walking enough, striking out a lot, and hitting the ball in the air. Right now, that’s a successful formula, but heading forward I’m not so sure. He’s going to hit 20-25 homers playing within U.S. Cellular Field. He’s also not going to continue to hit near .300. It’s just not happening; he’s hit over .280 in a full season exactly once throughout his career.

ZiPS expects an above-average offensive output from the former defensive wunderkind. That seems about right. It’s not 2005. Jones is no longer the budding superstar, nor is he the notorious ball-hog of his younger days. He’s just an aging slugger using his bat to prop the casket lid open.

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15 Responses to “Andruw Jones Is Alive”

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  1. James Mason says:

    Andru was alive in Arlington, Texas in April of last year too. Then he apparently died in May.

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Yeah, I remember about 3 or 4 articles last year around this time telling us that Jones is back.

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  2. Patrick says:

    Well above his career average? I mean, enough that we should expect him to regress, but 10% over his career average isn’t egregious. His performance does not appear to be BABIP dependent… Even though, especially given our other information (he’s not as fast as he was) we should expect his BABIP to drop.

    HR/FB rate dependent, though… 37.5% is a WHALE of a HR/FB percentage. :)

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  3. Noonzeo says:

    Fantasy Zombie…sounds like an ESPN Fantasy Focus bit. Great work and good analysis…stay away from this Zombie, he’s bound to fall off soon.

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  4. The A Team says:

    I picked up Jones on Thursday to take advantage of his matchup against RRS and Jason Vargas. If you’re in a deep league and use him strictly as a platoon OF against lefties and bad RHP, you should get a lot of value out of him for a waiver grab. He’s batting 3rd now and seems to have shaken the Mark Kotsay platoon for the time being.

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  5. dickey simpkins says:

    Zombie Jones is still infinitely better than Mark Kotsay. Oh, Ozzie you silly goose.

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    • The A Team says:

      I played college ball with a guy we nicknamed Dickie Simpkins (his real name was John) after another teammate of ours met the real Dickie at a Chicago-area gym.

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      • dickey simpkins says:

        In the several years of using this moniker to comment on blogs, you are at least the 10h person to have met Dickey Simpkins at a gym. Even more hilarious, I met him last summer at a Chicagoland Lifetime Fitness.

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    • MBD says:

      I can’t believe Jones was in a platoon with Kotsay to begin with. Kotsay is another level of zombitude below Andruw; he hasn’t done anything in 4 years. I’m talking below replacement level since the beginning of 2006.

      Jones is walking more AND striking out more. He seems to be more patient at the plate, as he is seeing 4.37 pitches per PA this year vs 4 or below in most years. BTW, is this guy a steal for the White Sox, or what? He’s getting $500K (plus incentives) and has already produced $2.3M of value.

      Oddly, ZiPS says he’ll only be good for 2.2 wRAA the rest of the way, even though he’s at 7.1 after 15 games.

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  6. Phantom Stranger says:

    I have watched the vast majority of Andruw’s at-bats over the course of his career. He has a very hard time adjusting once pitchers catch wind of his current hitting pattern and alter what they are throwing him in response. That is why he tends to fall into long slumps, because he will get locked into counter-productive mechanics, even long after the new scouting reports get around the league and pitchers know better.

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  7. 2LD says:

    Funny. My friend was living next door to Dickie for years so I used to see him hanging out in the backyard.

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  8. Minna Zone says:

    Wow, that’s a really nice read!

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