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wildcard

Could Jahmai Jones be a better overall left fielder than Austin Hays?

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On its face it sounds like a silly question.   Hays has been an outfield his whole professional career.   When healthy he can play any of the outfield positions  very well defensively.    Jones has been a 2B/CF in the minors.  Has barely played left field. So why is this even a question?

IMO Hays offense so far in the majors has not been good enough to hold down left field.   If what we have seen is all there is then he likely is a 4th outfielder.

His current numbers is  251/303/431/734 in 211 at bats

His career major league numbers are 262/312/427/ 739 in 461 at bats.

Outside of 68 at bats in 2019 he has not hit enough to hold down the left field position IMO.  This is NOT to say he can't get better.  He just turn 26 so there is still room to grow.  However his Righthanded/Lefthanded splits are not good for a everyday left fielder.

This season  vs righties 187/257/324/580 vs lefties 375/395/639/1034

Career     vs righties   252/309/358/706  vs lefties 288/320/495/816   

Kinda screams platoon guy.  But at just 26. Its not written in stone that's where he will end up.  

So why  is Jahmai Jones even a consideration for left field.  Well, he appears to be a high error 2B who's bat is ready for a try in the majors.   He has played CF but from what I have read does not have the range to start there.  But maybe he has the range for left field.

Is 296/425/500/925 enough  to say that he should be the O's left fielder?  No,  but it might be enough to take a look at the major league level.

I could see some kind of a rotation working in the 2nd half where Hays plays left/center/right and Jones plays left/DH/2B.   During the dog days of summer it would be good to give Mountcastle/Mancini/Hays/Mullins and Santander days off.  This arrangement would do that.  It would take at bats away from Stewart but I don't see that as a problem at this point.

Why would the O's want to promote Jones instead of having him continue to play 2B at AAA?  The answer to that question depends on what the O's think for Terrin Varra.  If Vavra return from his back injury and continues to put up a 400 OBP and plays better 2B than Jones then maybe Vavra needs to prove himself at AAA in the 2nd half.

Just saying'.   Maybe the competition would be good for everyone.  What do you think?

 

 

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Would be curious to know how his CF defense is before profiling him in a corner outfield spot.  Does he have enough speed/range?  Does he take good routes to flyballs?

It's a possibility.  The infield defense doesn't seem to be there for him.  

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Just now, Moose Milligan said:

Would be curious to know how his CF defense is before profiling him in a corner outfield spot.  Does he have enough speed/range?  Does he take good routes to flyballs?

It's a possibility.  The infield defense doesn't seem to be there for him.  

At the very least if Jones can play the infield and outfield with being able to hit, then he has the potential of being a valuable utility player in the age of the three to four player bench in MLB. 

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Just now, OsFanSinceThe80s said:

At the very least if Jones can play the infield and outfield with being able to hit, then he has the potential of being a valuable utility player in the age of the three to four player bench in MLB. 

I agree, but from what I'm seeing his infield defense isn't great.  Need to know how good the bat is to see if he's worthwhile in figuring out a 2B spot or a corner outfield spot.  

He should be up playing in Baltimore and showing what he's got.  Hopefully he's up soon.

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Good observation about Hays lefty/righty splits, but part of that is probably his BAbip - which is .224 against righties this year and .397 against lefties.  I think he's too talented a player to not use just against lefties.  

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Sorry - meant to say Hays is too good to just use against lefties.

Second base is the way to go with Jones this year, because we have a need at 2nd base.  If it doesn't work there, then we make a change next year, but for now - he should be at 2nd.  

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6 minutes ago, Ruzious said:

Sorry - meant to say Hays is too good to just use against lefties.

Second base is the way to go with Jones this year, because we have a need at 2nd base.  If it doesn't work there, then we make a change next year, but for now - he should be at 2nd.  

The O's young pitchers also need a good defensive 2B behind them.  So far that does not look like Jones.  And the O's are opening say he is not ready  to be a major league 2B.

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3 minutes ago, wildcard said:

The O's young pitchers also need a good defensive 2B behind them.  So far that does not look like Jones.  And the O's are opening say he is not ready  to be a major league 2B.

But right now, the O's haven't been playing anyone who's adequate at 2nd base, so it makes sense to use him over anyone else they have.    

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Too early to draw any conclusions about Hays, especially given his injury history. I'd leave Jones down and continue to evaluate Hays, Stewart, Santander. I know we're all tired of the rebuild but they can't get impatient and end up losing a solid every day starter. 

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Clearly the organization is already thinking about it since Jahmai has been getting OF reps. We just don't know that Jones will be a good LF. It's also not a sure thing that he will continue to hit the way he has (.653 career OPS in AA). One thing we can say about Hays is he is a very good OF who can catch the ball and has a plus arm. The .740 OPS does not scream major league OF bat but overall he is on pace for 2+ WAR which isn't nothing. I have a hard time seeing Jones bump Hays out of the OF. It may be that Jones just ends up being a guy without a position, at least until Santander or Mancini is gone. 

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Well constructed post @wildcard, nice job. 

It's an interesting thought and I'm all about moving Jones up to the major league team in the second half in some role. While I still think Hays has the more impact potential in his bat, at some point Hays has to stay in the lineup and produce like a corner outfielder. 

Hays' splits this year are a bit concerning but he's never had big platoon splits in the past so it could be just a bit of an anomaly. 

Jones though looks to be ready offensively as he's controlling the strike zone and getting on base at a high clip (.425).

Personally I'd make him the everyday second baseman and see how it works, but if they want to continue to rotate him in some kind of super utility role (2B/LF/CF/RF) I'd be ok with that as well. When the team is starting Valaika pretty much every day at 2B, they have nothing to lose by bringing up Jones. Saying that, I don't think he's going to be the defensive answer at 2B long term. 

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Absolute best case scenario for Jones is that he develops into a slightly worse Chris Taylor type player. He's definitely not going to provide as much defensive value as him but he can maybe be a 15-20 HR guy who hits for average and gets on base at a high clip. I like that Elias seems to be targeting guys like him who have some flaws but could pop because of their athleticism. 

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If history is any indicator, there will be plenty of at bats in the Orioles outfield.  Hays and Santander are both injury prone.  I don't know much about Jones' arm but don't suspect it will play well in right field.  That leaves left field for Jones, when he plays, and Hays filling in roving between left, center, and right - as needed.  I think Hays bat, speed, arm, and aggressive baserunning are needed in the lineup as much as possible.  He struggled at the plate coming off his latest injury, but he seems to be coming around now.  

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