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Fantasy Baseball: The perception of Adam Jones does not match reality

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There’s a perception surrounding Adam Jones that he had a bad or disappointing 2016 campaign, when his 2016 was nearly identical to his 2015 campaign. His FantasyPros fantasy baseball expert consensus ranking (ECR) is #86, coming off a 2016 campaign that many deemed as disappointing, mostly because they thought that Jones would have a much more robust 2016 season. Luckily for the savvy fantasy baseball player, the disappointment has driven his ranking down, and you can scoop him up at a great value.

The truth is, Jones had two years (2011 and 2012) where he excelled in all five fantasy baseball 5×5 categories, but this as mostly driven by an elevated BABIP (.313 and .313). He settled into a more reasonable production level in the last couple of seasons, which he has actively maintained, but his ranking has plummeted. Why? Jones isn’t a sexy pick, but he is a steady pick. He’s being chucked aside in favor of upside plays, when guys like him should be peppered through your lineup to hedge against cratering.

The cruelest irony to Adam Jones’ fantasy baseball ranking is that going into 2015, Jones’ ranking on several major sites fluctuated between eleven and twenty overall. Going into 2016, his ranking was between 46 and 65 on the major sites, and going into 2017, his consensus ranking is 86. It just doesn’t make any sense. Here are his 2014, 2015, and 2016 campaigns, which would, in theory, form opinions on his rankings in 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively.

Season G HR R RBI SB AVG BABIP K% BB%
2014 159 29 88 96 7 0.281 0.311 19.50% 2.80%
2015 137 27 74 82 3 0.269 0.286 17.60% 4.10%
2016 152 29 86 83 2 0.265 0.28 17.10% 5.80%

Jones abandoned stolen bases, and his average dipped (thanks to a depressed BABIP). His strikeout rate as decreased by over 2% since 2014, and his walk rate has nearly doubled. His R returned to his 2014 level, and the extremely potent 2017 Orioles should see him bouncing back in RBI.

The real question mark here is why is Jones ranked in the 80s after losing .016 on his average (and .031 on his BABIP) and five stolen bases from his 2014 campaign that saw him headed into 2015 as a top-twenty fantasy baseball player? And after remaining neutral from a 2015 campaign that saw him ranked in the 50s? While power around the league has gone up, the sources are mostly middle infielders who are suddenly raking. This should not change Jones’ outfield standing, but it has. He won’t run in 2017 (28 baseball players) stole more bases than the Orioles), but in the 80s overall is a ranking and average draft position that does not reflect the reality of his potential 2017 production.

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