Adam Jones‘ discipline at the plate has been a hot button issue in Baltimore after the Orioles centerfielder hit .237/.248/.386 in June and went 45 games between walks. With two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth and the O’s down 5-2, Jones swung at two changeups in the dirt and struck out swinging.
After the game, MASN’s Steve Melewski asked him about his approach during the at-bat. “I chased pitches that I shouldn’t have. Pretty simple. There’s no — there’s no equation to figure that out. I chased them,” Jones said.
Prior to Tuesday night’s game, I examined just how much Jones chases pitches outside of the zone and the affects it has had on his performance at the plate in my weekly column on MASNSports.com.
According to FanGraphs.com’s PITCHf/x Plate Discipline data, Jones has swung at 44.2 percent of the pitches he’s seen outside of the strike zone this season, a career high. In 2012, that number was 40.4 percent and has hovered around that total over the previous three seasons. By comparison, Omar Infante and Mike Napoli, two guys who share Jones’ .339 wOBA this season, have swung at 26.7 percent and 26.1 percent of the pitches they see out of the zone, respectively.
Overall, Jones has swung at 57.8 percent of all the total pitches he’s seen this season. Remarkably, he’s been able to make contact with 61.6 percent of the pitches he’s seen outside of the zone, 86.7 percent of the pitches in the zone and 76.1 percent of the total pitches he has swung at this year.
Kudos to Melewski for asking the tough questions and good on Jones for sticking around to answer them.
Jones swing percentage is up this season, but he saw success as a free swinger the first two months of the season. For a guy that takes as many hacks as he does, he manages to maintain a respective strikeout rate.
The big problem for Jones in June was his batting average on balls in play. As I point out in the column, Jones’ BABIP dipped from .323 in May to .258 in June. Heading into last night’s game Jones had recorded a .276 BABIP in 29 at-bats in July.
While the Orioles struggles at the dish are frustrating (they’re 8-for-19 with RISP in their last 9 games), starting pitching remains their top concern.