Scouts talk Adam Jones
As part of a story that I wrote today on the offensive struggles of several of the Orioles’ younger hitters, my colleague Dan Connolly and I talked to several scouts to get their opinion. Surprisingly or actually shockingly to me, none of them were all that down on the group, saying that the struggles were normal growing pains that young hitters go through. They also felt that such struggles were exacerbated because most of the Oriole veteran hitters are either hurt or not producing, forcing the younger guys to carry the club.
I’ll blog comments from scouts on certain players over the next couple of days with entries on Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Nick Markakis and Brandon Snyder.
First up is Jones, who I’d have to think has been the most disappointing Oriole this year after his All-Star and Gold Glove season in 2009. He enters tomorrow’s series opener against the Yankees, hitting .251 with five homers and 15 RBIs. His on-base percentage is just .274 and he has hit into more double plays (seven) than he has walks (five).
Scout No. 1 on Jones
“He’s not the same guy we saw last year that would drive that breaking ball to right center. He stayed on the breaking ball so much better. He didn’t try to hit the three-run home run. I think with that 2-16 start, everybody started feeling a little pressure by not scoring runs.”
“[He’s not overrated] in my mind. I just think he is trying to do too much because the Orioles haven’t been scoring runs. And that has added more pressure on a young player like him because there has been so much of a buildup. Hitting three-run homers is not his game. His homers will come when he stays within himself and drives the ball to right, right center.”
“Without a doubt, I think Jones is going to become a really good player. If the Orioles are interested in trading him, I’d certainly be interested. I think in the long haul those guys will come out of it. Jones will come out of it.”
Scout No. 2
“In his case, the expectations were very high. And you saw what happened right off the bat. They lose their leadoff hitter and all of the sudden he is thrust into a situation he is very unaccustomed to. He is not that type of a guy and you don’t know what’s going through a young guy’s mind when he’s thrust into a role and situation he’s never been in before. You tend to put pressure on yourself and sometimes you think you have to be too successful.”
“Conversely, this year he got off to a bad start and you have to give him time, we’re a third of the way into the season. He has a long way to go and he can pick it up. On the other hand, he’s not in the same (lineup) position and does not have the same protection and all of those factors go into how well a player is playing.”
“Early on he was known as a bit of a free swinger and when he was thrust into the top of the order he reverted back to that and I think the reason was because he felt the need to get on base. When I see him now, he still has the tendency and penchant for chasing pitches out of the strike zone. It’s something he’s always done. And the only way to get better at that is to get out there and experience those situations and learn not to do that.”
“I don’t necessarily see a regression. What I see is a guy that is still growing. He hasn’t played more than two full seasons in the big leagues yet and that is not a lot of time. It’s a very small sample. He’s a toolsy player learning his craft at the major league level and that’s not easy. Some of the things that make you the player you are sometimes can make you look bad as well. Baseball is a humbling experience.”
Scout No. 3
“A lot of things came so fast for him, but the league caught up for him. I watch Adam Jones hit and you talk about somebody that is not only identifying pitches and seeing the ball. You don’t have to throw a strike to get him out. Why would you? Until he makes adjustments, he won’t be able to bring the raw power. They have figured him out and he hasn’t made adjustments to counteract that.”
“I think he’s getting help, but he doesn’t have the confidence. He looks like a young hitter who is chasing everything. What the heck is he doing sometimes? There’s no reason he shouldn’t hit 25 to 30 homers, but he gets himself out so much and doesn’t get into hitter counts. He’s messed up right now. I’m worried about him.”