Some people believe failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.
Entering the season, the former elite Mariners prospect was expected to meet the mammoth expectations once placed upon him in the Starbucks City. Though he stumbled down the stretch in '09, his banner April/May (.344-11-36) exhibited great vibrancy. The explosive opening was good enough to earn him an All-Star nomination. It also launched him into fantasy stardom – at least temporarily.
During draft season, most owners gave him a pass for his second-half slide. His sterling pedigree, entrenched role and RBI-friendly position in an acceptable lineup made him a mid-round asset. For the 24-year-old, the immediate future, it seemed, would be filled with Cristal baths, luxury yachts and scantily clad supermodels.
But the S.S. Pacman has remained docked along the shores of the Chesapeake.Jody Gerut(notes) has driven in the same number of runs as a commodity that was drafted well within the top 100 there's something inherently wrong. Based on last year's Y! mugshot (see right), we can only assume narcolepsy is to blame.
Shoveling underneath the superficial, Jones' statistical regression is revealed to be the byproduct of a change in mental approach. Last season, he worked counts deeper and slapped pitches often to the opposite field. This year, he's completely reversed course. Echoing the patience of Pablo Sandoval(notes) without the contact success, he's posted an abhorrent 2.7 walks percentage. That, combined with a dramatic decrease in HR/FB percentage and continued groundball-heavy splits, makes it clear why the tainted asset has struggled. According to Jones only the man in the mirror is responsible. From the Baltimore Sun:
"It's me. I'm the one that has to go up there and hit," said Jones, refusing to blame his struggles on where he has hit in the lineup. "No one is going to go up there and hit for me. I'm not really seeing good pitches to hit, but I'm still swinging at them. I'm getting myself out, really. It's been a lack of patience. I have to be more patient, take what they give me, and if they give me nothing, go to first base instead of trying to force the issue, which I feel I've been trying to do all year. I'm trying to pick up slack with Roberts not here instead of playing my role like everybody else."
The pressure to perform without table-setting sparkplug Brian Roberts(notes) is undeniably weighing on Jones. When slotted into the leadoff spot he's batted just .188 and notched a wretched .224 OBP (15:3 K:BB split). Sadly, Juan Pierre(notes) could accomplish more dressed from head-to-toe in medieval armor. Steve Melewski of MASN certainly agrees.
Hitting safely in five straight games, including a 3-for-4 outburst Wednesday against his original club, lends hope for a turnaround. Still, until diligence becomes a priority, he will continue to suck the life out of his owners. Roberts, who was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 12, isn't expected back until at least mid-June.
Jones is quickly becoming expendable in shallow leagues (8-12 teams). Due to the limited roster space, widely available outfielders J.D. Drew(notes) (46-percent owned), Cody Ross(notes) (29-percent) and Drew Stubbs(notes) (12-percent) are more short-term employable. Because of his deflated price tag, deep leaguers should stay the course.
Once Roberts returns Jones should undergo a major makeover. Including this year's slow start, he's compiled a .295 BA hitting in the two-hole. He's far too talented to remain dead weight forever.
However, until Dave Trembley regains his offensive igniter, expect Jones' residence to remain on Elm Street.
Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 408 at-bats, .276 BA, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 63 R, 6 SB
Vampiristic commodity sucking the life out of your team owned in more than 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Widely owned starter who will soon maim an innocent Gatorade cooler
Uncovering fantasy's lucky bastards one decimal place at a time
Photo courtesy of US Presswire