A perennial breakout pick who frustrated many by not making the most of his 6-foot-3, 225 pound frame at the plate (he averaged 18 homers and a 104 OPS+ during his first four years in Baltimore), Jones has finally tapped into the power that made him a top prospect in the Mariners' farm system. His 14 homers are tied for second in the majors, and his 161 OPS+ ranks in the top 20. Jones is about to pull in a lot of cash because he's pulling the ball more often and with more authority.
Jones' pull percentage has climbed considerably in 2012, from under 45 percent during his four decent seasons with the O's to nearly 57 percent:
Jones' Spray Splits
Pulling the ball more often is usually a good thing for a hitter. Righties have a .559 slugging percentage when pulling the ball this season, compared to .479 to center field and .458 to the opposite side. The extra pulled pitches have definitely been a positive for Jones, as his slugging percentage to the pull side has soared by over 250 points:
Jones' slugging percentage by side of field
Jones has the eighth-highest slugging percentage on pulled pitches among righty hitters, sandwiched between Edwin Encarnacion and Ryan Braun. Eleven of Jones' homers have been ripped down the left field line.
While Jones still isn't drawing many walks, he has shown slightly better plate discipline this season (35 percent chase rate, compared to 39 percent from 2008-11) and his list of comparable players on Baseball-Reference through age 25 includes the likes of Dave Winfield, Reggie Smith, Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans and Sammy Sosa. It's too early to say that Jones is Matt Kemp sans stolen bases, but this deal looks fair if he contributes three to four Wins Above Replacement per year. It's a steal if he remains one of the game's great pull hitters.