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Sunday, January 22, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: ADAM JONES OUTFIELDER BALTIMORE ORIOLES

There is a certain factor among players in yearly fantasy baseball leagues that are classified as "boring veterans."  These are players who, while still quite effective with their numbers, have been around for long enough to the point that the fantasy baseball community gets "bored" with them and starts abandoning these hitters or pitchers in search of someone likely younger with more flash.  Think Miguel Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Kipnis, and the subject of this post, Baltimore's Adam Jones.  A longtime favorite of this writer, Jones is arguably one of the most yearly consistent players in all of fantasy baseball.  Consider that over the last six seasons, Jones has averaged 86 runs, 29 home runs, and 89 RBI's,  Jones' batting averages also seems to stick itself in the .275-.285 range as well.  Still only 31 and operating in the a top five power park, Jones should be set for another outfielder 1 seasons in 2017 fantasy baseball by the looks of things.  What is interesting though is that in early mocks, Jones is being drafted as a low-end outfielder 2 which brings us back to the boring veteran label.  Now I will admit myself that Jones is likely no longer an outfielder 1 for reasons we will discuss but at the very least he is a top outfielder 2 given the consistency and still in his prime bat.  So let's dig in and find out what is going on here.

So why has Jones seen some disrespect at the draft table and entered into the "boring" veteran tier?  The most likely reason is that Jones no longer steals any bases.  Early in his career while coming up with Seattle and then after arriving in Baltimore, Jones was good for 10-16 steals (a level he reached in 5 of 6 seasons from 2008 to 2013) but he has only swiped a total of 5 combined the last two years which speaks to how that tool is no longer in the arsenal belt.  When a player loses steals, this does more to remove the "flash" portion of their outlook in the eyes of the fantasy baseball community and that is what we are seeing with Jones.  In addition but not as direct, Jones has seen his average dip to a shaky .269 and .265 the last two years after he was between .280 and .290 each season from 2010 to 2014.  What is starting to happen with Jones is that since he is losing his speed, his BABIP is dipping below .300 and into unlucky territory.  No longer having the speed to beat the BABIP curve, Jones' average has dropped.  With his BABIP being .280 and .286 the last two years, it looks like Jones will be dealing with some poor luck there going into the future which makes him more likely to hit .265 then .280 again.  Also Jones' line drive rate was his worst in seven years in 2016 so that adds to why the average is sinking.  On the positive side, Jones is still cracking home runs like usual, with his 29 last season right there at his career norms.  Throw in 83 RBI and 86 runs and Jones is filling up three categories nicely.

So while Adam Jones no longer has the flash he once did, he is doing more than enough to serve as your outfielder 2 for 2017.  The guy can help anchor your power numbers and his usual durability stands to make him less volatile others around his draft spot.

2017 PROJECTION:  .267 28 HR 90 RBI 93 R 2 SB  


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