On MLB Trade Rumors today, Howard Megdal looks at possible destinations for Andruw Jones. Signed for jut $500K this winter, Jones has easily been the best free agent bargain. He leads all AL outfielders with a .427 wOBA, and has already produced over 1 WAR. If, as Megdal suggests, the White Sox will seek to cash in their Jones pick for some prospects, they might want to act quickly. We’ve seen this type of production from Andruw before, only to see it decline later in the season.
Although he produced above-average numbers in a general sense, Jones was a disappointment for Texas last season. No, a .338 wOBA isn’t bad, at least for most players. Jones, however, spent most of his time at DH. In only 17 games and 148.2 innings did he play the outfield. He has already topped those marks this year, which makes his production seem even better. The season is still young, though, and Jones has just 111 PA. There is still time for his production to fall.
Why so pessimistic? Because at this exact point last season, 111 PA, Andruw’s production ceased. For those first 111 PA he hit .278/.405/.544, which amounts to a wOBA, .424, that is nearly identical to his mark this year. Yet from his 112th PA through his 331st, he produced very little. His triple slash sat at .183/.282/.419, a .320 wOBA. His only saving grace was power, as he hit 12 home runs and produced a .236 ISO during that span. Other than that, though, he showed few redeeming qualities.
While we can’t say for certain that Andruw’s production for the rest of the season will mimic his efforts from last year, it’s also probably not a good idea to place any bets on it. He’s surely talented, as he showed during his years, minus 2007, with Atlanta. Even though he’s been in the league 15 seasons, he’s still just 33 years old. He could certainly continue producing throughout 2010, whether it be for the White Sox or a contending team.
Yet even if he avoids the drop-off he experienced last year, there’s almost no chance he continues at his current pace. Even during his prime years he never produced a .400 wOBA. His peak year came in 2000, when he produced a .390 mark. He came close, too, in 2005, when he hit 51 home runs and produced a .382 wOBA. He might be able to help a contending team, but it won’t be with the numbers he’s producing now.