Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Precipitous Fall of Garrett Jones

Although a founding member of the Garrett Jones Fan Club, even I have to wonder if we have already seen the apex of his career. His success last year after his call-up on July 1 made a bad season slightly more tolerable. It was easy to root for an unheralded 28-year-old guy with a limited track record, particularly when he was hitting 22 home runs in half a season.

Unfortunately this season Mr. Jones has reverted to the form that his MLEs roughly predicted for him. Since the All-Star break Jones is hitting an unsightly .193/.237/.393 for an OPS of .630. On the plus side, in those 156 plate appearances he has 8 home runs and his supporters can point to his .180 BABIP during that time to argue that he has just been very unlucky. But over the past month, things have only gotten worse. Since going 4-4 with two home runs in Colorado on July 28, Jones has had just one multi-hit game. In 104 plate appearances and 97 at bats he is hitting .134/.183/.309 for an Aki-like OPS of .492. Again his BABIP of .108 seems incredibly unlucky, but Jones has been a gaping hole in the middle of the lineup and is a big reason the Pirates aren't scoring any runs.

For the season GJ is now hitting .248/.307/.419. His .727 OPS is more than .200 below last year's number. His season BABIP of .268 is certainly low, but not epically so. There is a bit of a platoon split, as he certainly hits righties better than lefties, but generally I think the Pirates are going to have to rethink Jones' role going forward.

This is Jones' first full season in the majors, so the Pirates control his rights for five more years. Next year he will be cheap, roughly $450K, but do you want to pencil him in as the everyday first baseman? While very few major leaguers are used in a straight platoon role any more, maybe it's time to go back to the days of Chuck Tanner when the Bucs platooned at multiple positions on the diamond. Unfortunately, I think the days of Garrett Jones as an everyday major leaguer may have gone as quickly as they came. He certainly is a useful asset, but the hopes that he would be part of the foundation of the "new" Pirates seems to be quickly going by the wayside. Too bad for all involved.


Tripster said...

Gastro Intestinal Jones

Curtis Arledge said...

That's a tough story, but I think you should be focusing on your golf game...see you Tuesday, Hammer...