I left Texas Rangers' OF Andruw Jones off this morning's Roto Round Up because I wanted to take a deeper look at what Jones used to be capable of doing to determine whether his torrid 2009 start is sustainable. After being discarded by the Dodgers this past off-season, Andruw has started the season 6-11 with four extra base hits and just two strikeouts with four walks.
I won't say I wouldn't be writing this is Jones had half as many hits and XBH with the same peripherals, but I very well could have. He was that bad in 2009 that anything less than striking out in half his ABs would have been notable.
For the past two seasons, Jones has been one of the worst players in the league. His 2007 VORP of 6.1 tied him with hitting luminaries Jamie Burke and Nyjer Morgan. In 2008, Jones' -17.3 VORP was bested by every hitter but Corey Paterson and Tony Pena, Jr.
Jones was 1,036 of 1,038 players in 2008. This effort makes his 265th overall ranking amongst 1,018 players in 2007 look Albert Pujols-esque. Nothing here would indicate Jones was capable of doing anything in 2009 but collecting deferred payments from his former team.
With the exception of 2008, a quick look at his entire professional career shows Jones as a consistent .260-.270 hitter with enough plate discipline to draw 60-70 walks per season while striking out 125 times. Even in his 2007 season, Jones still managed to draw 70 walks. While his 2009 walks are obviously too high relative to his Ks, the fact he has drawn them is not unusual.
While Jones is not being platooned, I wanted to see whether he possessed splits that made it unlikely he would continue hitting right-handers as well as he has so far. For his career, Jones hits 258/333/485 versus righties and 262/338/507 versus lefties. His 2008 splits were so bad, his better numbers against lefties aren't worth considering Jones a pure platooner now. Not being able to hit and then not being able to hit as poorly against one thrower than another is without significance.
Assuming Andruw Jones really is just 32 years-old, I can't see any reason to not cautiously conclude that Jones can still hit. For reasons yet to be revealed, 2008 will go down as one of the most inexplicable seasons for a player who was on a Hall-of-Fame track and who can still be one it assuming a bounceback. 2009 Comeback Player of the Year is possible.