Because Carlos Quentin has taken over the role of “Mr. Glass” from Chris Getz, Andruw Jones has received three straight starts against right-handed pitching.
In the process, I’ve developed a morbid curiosity while watching him that evokes an emotion halfway between “infuriated” and “amused.” “Infused” is already a word, so maybe I’ll just say it makes me “Druwsy.” With either no desire or ability to make adjustments. Jones astounds with his predictability.
Over those three games against righty starters — two of them pitch-to-contact types, the other Felix Hernandez — Jones went 1-for-12 with six strikeouts. The one hit was a homer, but it was on a hanging slider by Jamey Wright, who was deemed unfit for Cleveland’s bullpen this season. And even he had Andruw down 0-2.
Swinging himself into the ground every chance he gets, Jones has developed three true outcomes of his own: strikeout, groundout to left and flyout to left. Check out his spray chart from month to month:
According to FanGraphs, Jones has the lowest line-drive percentage of any major-league hitter with at least 200 plate appearances. Better yet, if you look at his batted-ball percentages on the season, you’ll see that it’s dropping still.
But wait, there’s more! Check out Jones’ pitch-type values on his FanGraphs page, and you’ll see that he’s dipped below zero on his performance against fastballs. By and large, he’s always been able to hit fastballs, and the last time he didn’t end up above average in terms of runs created against fastball was 2008, his collapse year with the Dodgers. He hit .158/.256/.249.
By no surprise, that’s the Jones Sox fans have seen over the last two-thirds of his season.
- First 79 PA: .288/.405/.693, 11 XBH, 2 GIDP
- Last 158 PA: .161/.259/.307, nine XBH, 10 GIDP
The only difference between that second line and his 2008 self is that slugging percentage, and that’s propped up by his last three homers, all of which have come on hanging, dangling breaking balls with an average speed of roughly 77 m.p.h. That’s not to say he shouldn’t get credit for crushing mistakes, but take the inverse of that statement, and he hasn’t hit a non-mistake hard in roughly six or seven weeks. Seriously, his last double was on May 25.
I know I’m belaboring the point, but it’s worth stressing. Jones isn’t flawed as a hitter, he’s defective, and the current roster construction has forced him into three straight starts, with more in store if Quentin’s hand — and in time, knee, hip or eyelid — can’t heal.
The Sox could use any bat, but a left-handed one has to be a priority when you watch the dominoes fall. Get a lefty, and Jones rarely has to hit. And when he does, he’d represent a stark improvement over Mark Kotsay, who is 0-for-17 against southpaws this season.
Part of me thinks Ozzie Guillen should be ineligible when it comes to the Manager of the Year Award. This all could have been avoided if Guillen were willing to answer the occasional question about Jim Thome’s march to 600 home runs. Then again, maybe that just makes Kenny Williams ineligible for the executive part. The rotating DH is the sinkhole we all feared it would be, and it’s a miracle that it hasn’t pulled down the rest of the team with it.
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*The Cheat does nice work sizing up all the most movable bats out there.
*Carl nails Carlos Quentin’s predicament perfectly.
*Tyler Flowers explains his May to J.J. for CSNChicago.com. He willingly admits that May has set him back offensively, but his assessment of his defense (and his report of the Sox’s version) contradicts Baseball Prospectus’ reports.
*Prince Fielder a possibility? Joe Cowley and Doug Padilla say there are talks, but I don’t see how it works out.
*Alexei Ramirez has paid attention to how Omar Vizquel prepares.
*U.S. Cellular Field will open its beer garden during the next homestand.
Minor league roundup:
- Louisville 11, Charlotte 7
- Tyler Flowers was 0-for-3 with a walk; Brent Morel was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Alejandro De Aza drew three walks in four trips to the plate, stealing his 12th base, too.
- West Tenn 4, Birmingham 1
- Justin Greene went 1-for-3 with a triple.
- Both Christian Marrero and Eduardo Escobar were hitless over four ABs with a strikeout.
- Winston-Salem 5, Potomac 4
- Brandon Short went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and a strikeout.
- Jon Gilmore was 1-for-4 with two RBI and a strikeout.
- Jose Martinez singled, struck out and laid down a sac bunt over four PAs.
- Nathan Jones: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.
- Santos Rodriguez pitched around a walk and a hit by striking out two in a scoreless ninth for the win.
- Greenville 3, Kannapolis 1
- Nick Ciolli (strikeout), Brady Shoemaker (double) and Juan Silverio (K) were all 1-for-4.
- Kyle Colligan went 0-for-4 with two K’s.
- Tyler Saladino was 0-for-3 with two K’s and a sac bunt.
- Greeneville 3, Bristol 0
- Jacob Petricka had some control issues: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
- Rangel Ravelo went 2-for-4 with a K.
- Daniel Black was hitless with a strikeout.
- Great Falls 8, Casper 4
- Andy Wilkins ended his nine-game hitting streak with a collar.
- Ross Wilson was 0-for-4, too, but he did drive in a run.