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Roy Firestone

Losing patience with Adam Jones

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I havent lost faith. Ill never lose faith. Im an Orioles fan for God's sakes. Im also a huge Adam Jones fan. All Im saying is..Im getting impatient. Im also worried that he's in the kind of bad habits that could turn him into a deeper funk and slow his progress. I NEVER said he'll never amount to anything. I know it takes time. Im just frustrated with his pitch recognition, his AB's of late and his lack of power. All of that said, no one wants to see him succeed more than me. No one. Well, maybe his mom.

Fair enough. But MAN do I disagree with you on Amber.

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Jones has a very low plate IQ. I think he's surrounded by smart veterans that can work this out (I'm sure he's learning a ton from Roberts right now!). I consistently see Jones fall behind 0-1. Once that happens, you can kiss his power goodbye. At 0-2 he chokes up and tries to eek out a hit.

I have also seen Jones on many occasions turn an 0-2 into 3-2 and/or a base hit. I don't think he's wanting of athleticism and coordination, I just think he needs to work on his mental approach.

I don't think Jones' poor plate discipline is a reflection of his effort. With all things, I think its just going to take some time for him to him to adjust.

Here are some stats:

Jones has fallen behind 0-1 147 out of 269 at bats (53%). 47 of his strikeouts have come in these situations (70%).

On the pitch immediately after an 1-0 count, Jones has a 1.337 (LEET!) OPS. Overall, Jones has an OBP of .250 when behind 0-1 and .362 when ahead 1-0.

So as not to belabor the point, Jones has been absolutely deadly when ahead in the count (his OPS is higher than Roberts when ahead 1-0, 3-0, 3-1, and 3-2). He's got to figure out a way to get there.

This is a solvable problem but one that will take time. Keep the faith.

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Roy:

I am afraid to say that I agree with you. I like Adam’s play in centerfield, but I do not see anything during his at bats that leads me to believe that the O’s have a blossoming hitter, much less a future All-Star. I know he is only 22, and only has about a half season of MLB under his belt. But you can usually see flashes of hitting greatness in a highly touted rookie. I have not seen this. I hope I am wrong about this, so I am willing to be more patient with his development.

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Jones has a very low plate IQ. I think he's surrounded by smart veterans that can work this out (I'm sure he's learning a ton from Roberts right now!). I consistently see Jones fall behind 0-1. Once that happens, you can kiss his power goodbye. At 0-2 he chokes up and tries to eek out a hit.

I have also seen Jones on many occasions turn an 0-2 into 3-2 and/or a base hit. I don't think he's wanting of athleticism and coordination, I just think he needs to work on his mental approach.

I don't think Jones' poor plate discipline is a reflection of his effort. With all things, I think its just going to take some time for him to him to adjust.

Here are some stats:

Jones has fallen behind 0-1 147 out of 269 at bats (53%). 47 of his strikeouts have come in these situations (70%).

On the pitch immediately after an 1-0 count, Jones has a 1.337 (LEET!) OPS. Overall, Jones has an OBP of .250 when behind 0-1 and .362 when ahead 1-0.

So as not to belabor the point, Jones has been absolutely deadly when ahead in the count (his OPS is higher than Roberts when ahead 1-0, 3-0, 3-1, and 3-2). He's got to figure out a way to get there.

This is a solvable problem but one that will take time. Keep the faith.

Outstanding post. I too believe he will figure this out. From all reports he's hard worker who will put in the time to get better, but I don't think he'll ever be a high OBP guy.

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Could you help me out with this part? I'm ceertanly not saying he doesn't have the ingredients to be very good, I just havent' seen any improvement thus far this season. He has a game here or there where he has some good atbats, but later tha same week, perhaps the very next game, he'll look awful in several atbats.

OK, I can help you out with that part...

Just several weeks ago, he used to be a total sucker for high heat. At first, he fell for it every time. Now he only falls for it sometimes. There's been more-than-several times where he left it alone, and on some of those occasions it was a matter of restraining himself from creating Strike-3 and instead getting himself another pitch to hit, which he then proceeded to hit right on the nose. He just needs to get better at it that's all.

Same thing for breaking stuff low-and-away. But even Dale Murphy never completely cured himself of that... and judging by his back-to-back NL-MVP's, he turned out OK.

I'm not sure what happened in CHI, but it looked like AJ temporarily forgot everything he'd learned. Maybe he got all wound-up about playing in Wrigley, or maybe it was something else, but it was not a typical-for-these-days performance for him, it was more like how he looked at the beginning. Dunno what that was about, but it's not like the kid is stupid. He's learning.

Edited by rshackelford

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Jones does look horrible at times, and it's easy to lose patience with him. But he's anything but an out despite his trials up there. And, he's still doing better than Markakis did at a similar point in his rookie year.

I'm not worried about Jones. He also has a short swing, not some long wild one. That bodes well for the his future as a hitter.

Edited by mikezpen

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Outstanding post. I too believe he will figure this out. From all reports he's hard worker who will put in the time to get better, but I don't think he'll ever be a high OBP guy.

Thank you! I really think just by improving his success on the first pitch he can improve his OPS significantly. I was just looking at guys like Milton Bradley, A-Rod, Hamilton, and Roberts and they fall behind 0-1 40-45% of the time. There are some good hitters like You-kill-us and Dye who are about 50-50 but Jones is definitely a bad hitter on the first pitch.

Every time he comes to the plate and takes a home run cut at the first pitch I bury my face in my hands. Against Lily this week, I felt like every AB was a first-pitch fastball and the Birds (the whole team) fell behind 0-1 on nearly every at bat. I didn't see an adjustment made the whole game.

Using the Joe Torre philosophy of "playing the percentages," an argument can be made that a team that wins the first pitch battle more than 50% of the time will be a good offense. I know that qualitatively its more complex than that, but its not a moot point.

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Roy always writes this way. When he first came here, a lot of people thought like you did, including yours truly. We thought, would Roy Firestone really write like this? But we soon learned that when Roy posts here, he's not trying to be "Mr. Emmy Award winning broadcaster Roy Firestone," he's trying to kick back and talk about his favorite team, so he basically puts effort in to not putting effort. If you follow.

...and you may want to apologize for calling it 4th grade level, that's pretty insulting...just a friendly tip.

(Still doesn't excuse you for jumping the gun on AJ, Roy. ;) )

The author does seem to be Mr. Firestone, even if I remember his past posts differently from your impressions.

For most U.S. newspapers, a 4th grade writing level is the target audience (http://hamradio-online.com/commonsense/2007/10/newspapers-are-written-to-3rd-grade.html). It's not an insult for Roy to write to the Hangout audience at the 4th grade level, but I believed Roy's prior posts were at a higher level.

The erudite Wall Street Journal's writing is said to be at the 11th grade level. Not very impressive for the gold standard of public discourse.

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The author does seem to be Mr. Firestone, even if I remember his past posts differently from your impressions.

For most U.S. newspapers, a 4th grade writing level is the target audience (http://hamradio-online.com/commonsense/2007/10/newspapers-are-written-to-3rd-grade.html). It's not an insult for Roy to write to the Hangout audience at the 4th grade level, but I believed Roy's prior posts were at a higher level.

The erudite Wall Street Journal's writing is said to be at the 11th grade level. Not very impressive for the gold standard of public discourse.

Before or after it was acquired by Rupert Murdoch?

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I'll stand behind you on this one Roy, because twice in Tuesday's game he failed to have a productive AB and it almost came back to bite us in the ass.

After Luke Scott tripled, Adam failed to get the runner in from third with less than 2 down. IIRC, they even had the infield in when he struck out. It is said that when the infield is in, the hitter's BA increases about about 100pts, so in his case it would have been .350.

In his next AB he failed to move the runner on second with no one out by trying to pull a pitch that was low and away. In this situation, all you need to do is swing inside out. Anyone who has played baseball over the age of 10 knows that swinging inside out and making contact, especially on an outside pitch, is just about as easy as getting a bunt down. If Adam can't move the runner over to third while swinging away, the O's might as well have him bunt in that situation.

It also didn't help that his replacement on the next night hit 2 homers and knocked in all 4 runs.

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I'll stand behind you on this one Roy, because twice in Tuesday's game he failed to have a productive AB and it almost came back to bite us in the ass.

After Luke Scott tripled, Adam failed to get the runner in from third with less than 2 down. IIRC, they even had the infield in when he struck out. It is said that when the infield is in, the hitter's BA increases about about 100pts, so in his case it would have been .350.

In his next AB he failed to move the runner on second with no one out by trying to pull a pitch that was low and away. In this situation, all you need to do is swing inside out. Anyone who has played baseball over the age of 10 knows that swinging inside out and making contact, especially on an outside pitch, is just about as easy as getting a bunt down. If Adam can't move the runner over to third while swinging away, the O's might as well have him bunt in that situation.

It also didn't help that his replacement on the next night hit 2 homers and knocked in all 4 runs.

This is what happens in the rebuilding process. You acquire young talent, and you give them TIME to develop. If you don't have the patience to let Adam Jones learn on the job, I'd suggest checking back with the Orioles in a few years.

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OK, I can help you out with that part...

Just several weeks ago, he used to be a total sucker for high heat. At first, he fell for it every time. Now he only falls for it sometimes. There's been more-than-several times where he left it alone, and on some of those occasions it was a matter of restraining himself from creating Strike-3 and instead getting himself another pitch to hit, which he then proceeded to hit right on the nose. He just needs to get better at it that's all.

Same thing for breaking stuff low-and-away. But even Dale Murphy never completely cured himself of that... and judging by his back-to-back NL-MVP's, he turned out OK.

I'm not sure what happened in CHI, but it looked like AJ temporarily forgot everything he'd learned. Maybe he got all wound-up about playing in Wrigley, or maybe it was something else, but it was not a typical-for-these-days performance for him, it was more like how he looked at the beginning. Dunno what that was about, but it's not like the kid is stupid. He's learning.

I would conceed the point about his being a bit better about laying off the high fastball and somewhat less so the down and away breaking stuff... so in that regard alone, I suppose there has been some improvement... in the bigger picture from what I have seen, he goes through periods of looking better and looking terrible and has done so all season. So what I saw in Chicago wasn't an abhoration to me as much as it was him being in the down cycle of how he has been all season. I would fully expect to see him perform better against the Nats so lets get a pre-emptive strike out there now to prevent all the "See Jones is going to be fine" type threads...

Again though, my comments are in Roy's vein of impatience with his growth, not a denial that he'll be something very good someday.

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Thank you! I really think just by improving his success on the first pitch he can improve his OPS significantly. I was just looking at guys like Milton Bradley, A-Rod, Hamilton, and Roberts and they fall behind 0-1 40-45% of the time. There are some good hitters like You-kill-us and Dye who are about 50-50 but Jones is definitely a bad hitter on the first pitch.

Every time he comes to the plate and takes a home run cut at the first pitch I bury my face in my hands. Against Lily this week, I felt like every AB was a first-pitch fastball and the Birds (the whole team) fell behind 0-1 on nearly every at bat. I didn't see an adjustment made the whole game.

Using the Joe Torre philosophy of "playing the percentages," an argument can be made that a team that wins the first pitch battle more than 50% of the time will be a good offense. I know that qualitatively its more complex than that, but its not a moot point.

I'm not challenging you on this, I'm just confused.

If Lilly was throwing first pitch fast-balls over the plate, shouldn't we swing at them? And if we don't, won't the count then be 0-1, exactly what we are trying to avoid? What adjustment were you looking for?

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