From The Fantasy Oracle 2016 MLB Draft Guide Is Here! 

2014 Fantasy Baseball Player Profile: Adam Jones

Everyone is taking Adam Jones in the first round of fantasy drafts. Ray Flowers tells you why that is a mistake.

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Adam Jones is currently going off the board 10th overall according to ADP numbers from the NFBC. I'm here to flat out tell you he shouldn't be taken that early. That line of though makes me about as popular as as a playmate at a fury convention (if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this link). I'm still standing by the statement though. I honestly don't understand the unabashed, unconditional love for Adam Jones. That makes me an oddity in the fantasy universe, I get it, but I think if you take the next five minutes of your life, it really isn't that much time to learn something so counter to the prevailing thought, I think I'll be able to persuade you to turn to my side, the correct side, in evaluating Adam Jones.

Some straight forward bullet point statements that might surprise you given the overwhelming love that is heaped on Jones' shoulders.

He has never hit .290.

He has never hit 35 homers in a season.

He has only one season with 85 RBIs.

He has only two seasons with 85 runs scored.

He has never stolen 17 bases in a season.

He has never had a .336 OBP.

He's only had one season with a .500 SLG.

If those numbers aren't enough to scare the crap out of you – remember we're talking about a guy who is being drafted in the first round – let's put some context around it.

Jones has never hit .290 in a season, a mark that that Marlon Byrd bettered last year at .291.

Jones career best for homers is 33 in a season. Old ass Alfonso Soriano hit 34 last year.

Jones has only two seasons with 85 RBIs. I know they are the last two seasons – 103 and 100 the last two years – but shouldn't it be noted that Mark Trumbo has only been in the league three years yet he has at least 85 RBIs every season? Just saying.

Jones has two seasons with 85 runs scored. Everyone seems to hate his teammate, Nick Markakis, but he's scored 85 runs in four different seasons.

Jones has never eclipsed 17 steals. Jarrod Dyson who isn't even drafted in most mixed leagues doubled that mark last year with 34. Hell, Chris Getz stole 16 bases last year to tie Jones' career best.

Jones is awful at getting on base. He's never had an OBP mark of .336 in a season. James Loney was at .348 last year. Moreover, since his career began, Jones is the owner of a .322 OBP which just so happens to be five points worse than the AL average from 2006-13 (.327).

Jones has had only one season with a SLG of .500, and in fact he's only had two seasons with a mark of .470. Joe Mauer hit 11 home runs last season and had a mark of .476. To compare that further, for his career Jones owns a .460 career SLG, eight points lower than Mauer.

And you want that guy to be your first round draft pick?

On the flip side, and I'll give him credit for a very interesting feat that speaks to his durability and skill, Jones is the only man in baseball who has reached all five of the following fantasy numbers in each of the last two seasons:

.285 average
32 homers
82 RBIs
100 runs
14 steals

Credit for being very, very good is due Jones. But first round talent? Not so sure there.

Not saying these guys are better options, but just look at their numbers from 2013 and think about how you value them.

Alfonso Soriano .255-34-101-84-18
Hunter Pence .283-27-99-91-22

Those two guys had efforts last season that pretty closely mirror the efforts of Jones the past two years. If you took Soriano in the first 10 rounds this year people would laugh at you, and many would offer a chuckle if you took Pence in the first four rounds, yet Jones is going in the first round. Why? People see the numbers Jones has posted the last two seasons, realize their impressive nature, and think he's a lock to at least match if not improve upon those numbers in the coming season. Is that a fair position to take? You already know I'm going to say no.

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AVERAGE – Jones has never hit .288 in a season. That's pretty strange for a guy who is looked at as a top-10 player, isn't it? Will he better that mark in 2013? If he does it will only be by the smallest of margins. In fact, I'd posit that there is a greater chance of Jones hitting .275 in 2014 than .295. Why would I say that? Jones plate discipline is atrocious. Jones has never walked 37 times in a season. Never. He's failed to reach 30 walks in two of the last three seasons. Mike Trout walked 29 times last September. That's embarrassing Adam. Moreover, though he's no huge K machine, he has struck out at least 113 times each of the past four seasons including a career worst 136 times last season. Compare the walks to the strikeouts and you end up with a career BB/K ratio of 0.24 including a career worst 0.18 mark in 2013. As I noted in the Starling Marte Player Profile, you simply don't hit .300 with an approach like this.

HOMERS – He's hit 32 and 33 homers the past two seasons so must be a 30 homer batter. Uh, not really. Jones has had GB/FB ratios of 1.50, 1.41 and 1.51 the past three years. He's also the proud owner of a 48 percent ground ball rate. The league average ground ball rate is about 45 percent. That means Jones hits more grounders than an “average” player. That's not something you want to see from a power hitter. To put that ground ball number into perspective, here are some of the ground ball rates of some 30 homer hitters last season.

30 percent Brandon Moss
32 percent Chris Davis
35 percent Edwin Encarnacion
37 percent Jay Bruce
38 percent Adam Dunn, Alfonso Soriano
39 percent David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera
43 percent Pedro Alvarez
46 percent Mark Trumbo

Trumbo/Alvarez had a mark similar to that of Jones, but as you can see, it's rare to have a mark of 40 percent and hit 30 homers, let alone 48 percent like Jones posted in 2013 with his ground ball rate. What this means is that Jones will have to hold on to his strong HR/F ratio of the homers will come down. The last two years Jones is at about 19.5 percent in the HR/F category. Not only is that mark double the league average, but its also 20 percent above the career rate of Jones that sits at 15 percent. Given that fact, Jones is a better bet to hit 25 homers than 35 homers in 2014.

RBI – This is pretty shocking to move I bet, but as I noted above the guy only has one season of 85 RBIs. One. You cannot blindly expect him to be a 100 RBI guy because he was last year. The previous three seasons he averaged 78 RBIs a season – not even 80 a year. What changed last season? As I'm pointing out here, nothing really changed with his game. That should cause you to pause.

RUNS – Jones has scored 100 runs each of the past to seasons so he's a 100 run guy now. Really? In 2010-11 he scored 76 and 68 runs. That means the last four seasons he's averaged 87 runs scored. That's a strong total, but a far cry from elite. Another thing to note. You cannot continually score 100 runs with such a terrible OBP. Last year he scored 100 runs with an OBP of .318. In the 21st century do you know how many times a player has scored 100 runs with an OBP under .320? It has happened six times but only one player has done it twice and that was leadoff man Jimmy Rollins (the others: Curtis Granderson, Alfonso Soriano, Andruw Jones). The odds simply don't suggest that a player with this approach is a good bet to score 100 times.

STOLEN BASES – Jones is a nice stolen base producer, but he's also nothing special. He's never hit 17 steals. Jones has also stolen as many as 13 bases only twice. Per 150 games for his career Jones averages 12 steals. Again it's a nice sweetener given his bat, but this guy isn't a first round talent based on this category for sure.

So in Jones we've got a guy who is more likely to hit .275 than .295.
We've got a guy more likely to hit 25 homers than 35.
We've got a guy more likely to knock in 90 than 100.
We've got a guy more likely to score 85 times than 100.
We've got a guy more likely to steal 10 bases than 15.

.275-25-90-85-10 --- how much does a line like that look like Marlon Byrd (.291-24-88-75-2) or Jayson Werth (.318-25-82-84-10) from last season? Either one of those guys excite you, but Jones does?

I would not take Adam Jones in the first round.
I likely wouldn't take Adam Jones in the second round.

In fact, I have a hard time separating Jones from guys like Justin Upton or Alex Rios. I think you should also have a hard time making that call as well, despite what the ADP numbers suggest with Jones. Take a step back and reassess. If you do you might see things more clearly with Jones.


  • 64x64

    Jimmymak22 19 Apr 14:28 / Reply

    Jones is $15 in my keeper, so definitely not priced like a first rounder. If I were moving him for a same priced Bruce, which tier reliever or starting pitcher would you want also?

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