Adam Jones is the undisputed leader of the Baltimore Orioles. There’s no question about it. He’s been a huge reason the Orioles have gone from a 68-win team in 2008 (Jones’ first year with the team) to a 96-win team and claiming their first AL East division title since 1997 last season.
He signed the richest contract ever given to a Orioles player when he signed a six-year $85.5 million deal in 2012.
He has been the face of the O’s franchise for a couple of years now so it is extremely hard to believe that he has flown under the radar the past couple of seasons.
Yes, this year he has clearly carried this team on his back, and has made himself an early season MVP candidate, but as good as fans and fellow players know he is, there always seems to be someone to outshine him.
In 2012, when the team won 93 games and made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, Jones hit a career high 32 home runs and drove in an impressive 82 runs.
It flew under the radar because it was also the same year that young phenom Manny Machado made his debut, playing in 51 games and grabbing all of the headlines. It was also the year that their slugger, Chris Davis, started to figure it out, and hit 33 HR’s and drove in 85 runs.
So even though Jones had a breakout season that year, he could not even say that he led his own team in run production.
2013 was a great year for Jones also, as he drove in 100 runs for the first and only time in his career (so far)…but of course Davis had a monster year also, building on his 12′ campaign with 138 RBI’s and a league leading 53 HR’s.
Not only that — Machado led the league in doubles with 51.
2014 was a down year for both Davis and Machado, as Machado was dealing with the right knee that he injured the season before — he didn’t make his season debut until March — and Davis hit 26 HR’s during the season, a major drop-off, and struggled all year with a .196 batting average.
Maybe this would be the year Jones was able to stand out in the lineup, right?
Wrong. That year, Nelson Cruz, who was signed to a one-year deal, broke out for 40 HR’s and drove in over 100 runs took the shine away from Jones.
31-year old Steve Pearce also had a major breakout season, as he became a household name, and eventually took over at first base for Davis, who had to serve a 50-game suspension in August/September for PED’s.
Jones is a team player. That’s what a leader has to be. I’m sure he does not mind sharing the fame with another teammate, but I just looked at it like he never got the credit that he deserves.
He has put people on notice without a doubt this season. He has been on an absolute tear this year.
He has already driven in 16 runs, which leads the league.
He has 12 runs. That also leads the league.
His OPS currently sits at 1.294. His previous career high is .839, which he accomplished in 12′.
I feel confident in saying that he will eclipse the 100-RBI mark for just the second time in his career because he rarely misses a game. Since he has been with the O’s, he has played in at least 119 games. We know he will be available.
There will be no one there to take his shine either. Machado has hit for only a .156 average and Davis is hitting only .239 with 21 K’s. Jones has 5 strikeouts.
Travis Snider has been a nice surprise but he will not outshine Jones this year. In fact, I don’t think anyone will.
Cruz is hitting homers at a great pace for the Seattle Mariners but when it is all said and done, Jones will have the better numbers.
And to think, Jones was traded by the Mariners to the Orioles along with Chris Tillman in exchange for Erik Bedard.
Think about that for a minute.
– Khristian Peel