Adam Jones delivered an eighth inning, two out, three run home run to break a 2-2 tie against the New York Yankees to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a thrilling come from behind 5-3 win and increase their lead in the AL East to 7 1/2 games. Perhaps more due to his Wednesday Night heroics, we have been flooded with the question of whether or not Jones is a legitimate American League MVP Candidate.
While we understand the sentiment of the question, and fully understand that he is a great player in this league, we need to ease off a little bit on MVP talk.
Jones is having a good season as he is currently hitting .287 with 23 home runs, 23 doubles, 75 RBI, six stolen bases and has scored 69 runs. He has a nice slugging percentage of .485 and a OPS of .800, but with all due respect to Jones, those are not MVP caliber numbers.
Of the multitude of offensive categories, Jones is currently only in the top ten in a handful of those as he is fifth in games played, fifth in at bats, seventh in hits, third in total bases, eighth in home runs, ninth in RBI, ninth in extra base hits, and fourth in hit by pitches.
Yes, it is impressive to be in the top ten in all of those categories, but he is missing from the top ten in several of the key categories associated with MVP's. The first of which is the predominant sabremetric stat of WAR, and he does not crack the top ten in WAR for position players, offensive WAR or Defensive WAR.
Jones is also not in the top ten in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, runs scored, doubles, triples, or another one of those loved sabremetric stats, runs created.
Adam is a top tier player in the AL, and his numbers certainly support the All Star starting nod that he garnered as he is clearly one of the best all around players in the American League, just not its' MVP.
Now, we will fully acknowledge the fact that Jones is the leader, both on the field and off the field for the AL East leading Orioles and that does bring some clout to his MVP argument. Guys who are leaders on good teams often get consideration for the MVP, as they should. Given his numbers and the fact that he is the leader of the team that is legitimately fighting for possibly the best record in baseball, we do predict that Jones will finish higher in the MVP voting this year than he ever has in his career and could even get into the top three as a finalist. Incase you were wondering, the highest he has ever finished in the AL MVP race is sixth in 2012. Last season he finished 13th.
Again, we love Jones, and he has been great for this team and this city, it's just that we do not believe he is a threat to win the 2014 AL MVP, at least not right now. He could go on a tear over the last 6+ weeks of the season and really stack his numbers to get him closer, but it would have to be quite a hot streak.
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