Where to pick Adam Jones?
For anyone out there looking for a late-round steal, the biggest question surrounding Baltimore's newest CF may be how much will he steal.
"As much as I can," Jones told me as he walked off the field at Fort Lauderdale Stadium earlier this month.
Upon further questioning, he declined to put a numeral value on his comment, further leaving us fantasy freaks in the draft-room dark. He did, however look up long enough to flash a knowing smile about what fans might be in store this summer. "As much as I can."
But he did swipe 16 bases on 21 attempts in two levels in 2006 and has noticeably above-average speed roaming center. He stole twice in 65 at-bats in last year's cup of coffee with Seattle and he took off for second on two different occasions the day I saw him play, both times foiled by an Orioles hit.
So why is Jones' speed potential so important?
I say his ceiling is 15 bags, with 18-20 HR power and a .280 average. But unless the Orioles move him up from the eighth spot, where he's hit all spring, his RBI and run production won't make him worth more than a last-round pick in a mixed league. Think Gary Matthews Jr. numbers, but in a worse spot in a worse lineup.
Unless you're in a keeper league, you can probably do better.