Andruw Jones & the two-year slump

15 04 2008

I see it all the time in my other sport, boxing. Many times you find guys that are younger than most but completely washed up before their time. One example of that would be Fernando “El Feroz” Vargas who won his first title at just 21and was put in against a living legend at 23 years of age (Tito Trinidad). On that night Vargas was crushed & humiliated but that didn’t stop his management team from putting him in against a very much in his prime and unstoppable Oscar De La Hoya less than two years later. After getting his brains beat in Vargas would never be the same fighter again. Can you imagine that? Over the hill by the age of 25.

In a way I look at Andruw Jones the same way. Andruw became a superstar in 1996 at just 19 years of age. Much like other prospects, he too was labeled the “Next Griffey” but unlike all the other guys with that label, he came the closest to living up to the title. If you are a Braves fan or even a Jones supporter than you could very well fill up an entire post on Andruw’s storied 13 year career. Let’s start with the 10 Gold Gloves and move onto the 5 All-Star appearances. Then you can gaze deeply at his career numbers which brings 7 seasons with 30+ home runs, including 51 in 2005. But let’s take a closer look for a moment.

For 4 straight season from ’97-’00 Andruw was pretty great at stealing bases. He was just 3 bags short of a 30-30 season at the age 21 but after 2000 it’s like he completely gave up and since has had double digits in steals just once, in 2001 (11). Despite all that there is one streak that Andruw has managed to keep alive since 1997, though…100 strikeouts or more every single year. That includes last year when he hit a miserable .222.

It’s early in the year but already 13 games into the season Andruw is hitting .114 with no home runs and a sad 2 R.B.I. So what exactly went wrong? Was it coming in at almost 250 lbs. that killed his season? Did Andruw lose his love for the game or is it something much deeper than that? I don’t know about you but I am willing to bet that if Andruw doesn’t give the Dodgers 25 home runs, 75 R.B.I, and hits at least .240 some of the fans won’t be too happy about the $36.2 million the team spent acquiring Andruw’s services.

It’s sad because something tells me the man could have hit 45 home runs every year and finished out his career in Atlanta with 700+ home runs. Maybe then we’d be labeling that hot, young prospect the “Next Andruw”.


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3 responses

15 04 2008
Joe

Why the Dodgers took such a high priced gamble on the Bartolo Colon of center fielders is beyond me. His career stats at Chavez Ravine made Mario Mendoza look like the next Griffey. Now he has to play half his games there?

15 04 2008
Dick Peligro

Look, the fundamental problem with Jones isn’t his weight; it’s his inability to spell his first name properly! This has always been a portent of bad things to come…for those who have eyes to see, that is. Moreover, this is but another twisted branch from the same dysfunctional Dodger tree that gave us Eric Gagne, who is unable to pronounce his last name properly (unlike Greg Gagne, who did). And look at the sorry state to which HE’S come. I don’t care how they do it Curacao or Canada; both these guys play in the U.S. and are (over)paid in U.S. greenbacks, so they can darn-well respect our culture, our spelling & our pronunciation! Confucius say: when in Rome, do as the ones paying your salary do.

15 04 2008
Beppo

Being a Braves fan, I will always wonder “what could’ve been” with Andruw Jones. He has so much potential.

I think what really messed him up was his desire to hit much more home runs last year. He told the Braves’ hitting coach that he was going to pull everything, and it didn’t matter what anyone told him. So despite having power to hit HR to the opposite field, he tried pulling everything. Pitchers quickly learned that they can pitch him outside and he will strike out or ground out. That’s why his average dropped so low last year. I think he wanted to be a HR hitter (because they do get more attention, more than they should). So now he’s one of those Rob Deer type hitters, who can hit the ball out if you’ll give him a fat pitch, but he bats .220 or so. It’s really sad…

Can you believe this is the same guy who batted .303 in 2000? (With 36 HR, I might add.)

This is one thing that’s wrong with modern baseball — the HR is valued way more than runs or RBI. Who’s more valuable, the guy w/40 HR and 100 RBI or the guy w/25 HR and 115 RBI? The latter, but who gets more attention and money?

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