With Opening Day less than three weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2018 Orioles every day as they try to bounce back from a disappointing last-place finish a year ago.
CF Adam Jones
Opening Day age: 32
Contract status: Under contract through the 2018 season
2017 stats: .285/.322/.466, 26 HR, 73 RBI, 82 R, 2 SB, 635 PA, 2.5 WAR (Baseball Reference)
Why to be impressed: Coming off a down season in 2016, Jones posted his highest OPS since 2013 and finished with a solid .739 OPS against lefties after struggling dramatically against them the previous year (.580). The veteran outfielder also hit at least 25 home runs for the seventh consecutive season, the longest streak in Orioles history and another reminder of how consistent Jones has been over the years.
Why to be concerned: Jones remains the club’s best everyday option in center field, but he finished at minus-12 defensive runs saved and a minus-0.8 defensive WAR, making one wonder how much longer he will stay in that spot. And while he was very productive at the plate in his age-31 season, his average exit velocity of 86.7 miles per hour was his lowest since the start of the Statcast era in 2015.
2018 outlook: Most attention has understandably been on the future of Manny Machado this offseason, but Jones has been the heart and soul of this era of Orioles baseball and should be celebrated if this is his final act in Baltimore. Despite complaints about his aggressive style at the plate over the years, Jones has been as consistent as anyone and should again be a productive contributor if healthy.
Not-so-scientific projections for 2018: .279/.319/.455, 27 HR, 77 RBI, 85 R, 3 SB, 645 PA, 2.6 WAR