Andruw Jones

You realize that Andruw doesn’t even turn 26 until April of this year? (Assuming his listed age is correct, and most of the baseball ages seem to have been shaken out by the new visa restrictions.) It seems like he’s been around forever, and this will be his seventh full season.

It may be that what we see with Andruw now is what we get: gold glove defense combined with a productive but not MVP-level hitter. It’s frustrating, because every so often he gives a glimpse of more. I’ve always said that if Andruw would just do everything he’s shown himself capable of, he’d be one of the best players in baseball, but he never puts it all together for more than a couple of weeks at a time. Last year, he hit only .264, but had the second-best OPS of his career, set a career high for walks with 83, and had 35 homers and 34 doubles. In context, it was probably a better season than he had in 2000, because hitting conditions were a little tougher last year. With a lot of players, I’ll say they need more power or more walks, but in Andruw’s case he needs to hit .300 (something he’s done only in 2000) to break out. Everything else was there last year.

Alternately, he could just be average part of the time rather than going into deep slumps. He was awful in July and August last year, good in April and May, but excellent in June and magnificent in September (.359/.405/.769). If he’d put up his career averages in the bad months his season would have been a lot better… His range factor slipped a little last year but is still well above the league. He battled some injuries, but mostly to the upper body. He doesn’t look slow to me, but he has a tendency to put on weight around the middle.

Andruw Jones Statistics –

5 thoughts on “Andruw Jones”

  1. I didn’t mention his comp list, but it’s scary. Ruben Sierra is his most comparable player through Age 25. Other on the top ten include Tony Conigliaro, Cesar Cedeno, and Vada Pinson. Flameout city, though of course Conigliaro’s situation is a little different. (And Pinson isn’t really comparable, since he was three years older than his listed age. Unless…) Jose Canseco’s on the list, too. There are three Hall of Famers on the list, but even them… Frank Robinson was great his whole career, but Al Kaline and Eddie Mathews were both better players in their early twenties than later in their careers. And it looks like we might be able to say the same about Ken Griffey Jr. Jeez.

  2. Mac, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with Andruw. It seems that every year he plays at an all-world level until about the middle of May, then goes through about six or eight weeks where his bat couldn’t break the cuticle on a custard cream pie.

    That’s the frustrating thing with him. Andruw’s numbers by the end always look fairly good (other than the batting average), but those who watch the Braves every day know his season was a series of 12-for-15s mixed in with a bunch of 1-for-20s.

    All phases of his game considered over the course of a full season, he’s still the second-best player on the team the last five years … and he hasn’t yet reached what many consider to be the prime years of a player’s career.

    Then again, he could be another early flameout like Cesar Cedeno. I still enjoy watching him more than any Brave since Dale Murphy.

  3. Mac,

    I don’t think those similarity scores are too surprising. If you look at Greg Maddux’s similarity scores by age his age 25 match is Mike Witt.

    Sim. scores are based alot on career counting stats: games, hits, at bats, etc. Because Andruw is young and has played alot of games his list of potential comps is very small; there are really only 2 groups of player who have played alot when they’re 25: early flame outs and all-time greats. Greatness is, by definition, rare. There are alot more Cesar Cedenos than Hank Aarons. The odds are that Andruw won’t get alot better (sad to say since he’s my favorite player). If he does what I envision as a fan (not an analyst), and ups his average to .300, mainitains his defense, and wins the MVP award 2 out of the next 5 seasons, leads the Braves to as couple World Championships, and has a long career then he’ll be one of the 25 best players of all time. The odds are against this happening.

  4. I kind of threw Cedeno out there because his skill level and hype were similar (look at some Sporting News covers from the early 70s if you have the chance), but I don’t know if that’s fair to Andruw either. A lot of people attribute Cedeno’s early fade to a mysterious situation one offseason where a dead woman was found in his house (or some similar incident). Not to make light of the situation, but since the Gold Club closed down, Andruw’s chances of winding up in a similar scenario have lessened considerably.

  5. In the Braves newsgroup thread once about our most and least favorite braves. Ihad Andruw on both lists. I really like to watch him play, but no player has ever infuriated me more than Andruw, simply knowing what he’s capable of.

    FWIW, though, the streaks of hitting well have gradually become a little longer each year. But beware whenever he has a 2-HR game or a small homer binge, because that’s the kind of thing that often kills his patience for the next 6 weeks or so.

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