There is a lot to like about James Jones these days.
You don’t want to make it all about batting average, because there are other statistics in baseball that can be more telling. Still, would we dare complain about a Seattle Mariners outfielder that is hitting over .290 for the season?
Now, could Jones fall into a horrible slump and suddenly be batting .230 for the year? Absolutely. At some point it is reasonable to assume that he will struggle.
For now, Jones is hitting .291, has an on-base percentage of .327 and has 11 stolen bases. The OBP is admittedly average, but given the offensive struggles of this team in recent years, average is just fine. His WAR of 1.0 is great for a rookie that is a former fourth-round pick.
You don’t need all of your players to hit .300 in order to win. Robinson Cano is supposed to hit .300 based on his history and his salary (.384 OBP, by the way). Meanwhile, everyone else is supposed to hit well enough that there aren’t gaping holes in the lineup.
Jones is not a power guy. He does need to cut down on his strikeouts (27) and increase his walks (8). Hopefully some of that will come with comfort at the plate and patience. If you look at his game log, Jones struck out nine times in six games from May 24-30.
Over the last six games, Jones has only struck out twice. Progress? Possibly. Still need more walks.
The hope is that Jones will continue to progress, develop more plate discipline and hopefully be an effective lead-off man in future years. At the moment, the future of James Jones looks pretty bright.