In his last seven games, this brother is hitting .368 with a home run, six RBI, and five runs scored.
Jones is making the most of his time on that field and the way he’s been performing lately, the Astros will have to keep him in the fold and consider him as a strong option as the team might lose a foundation piece and solid bat (a trade of Carlos Correa maybe?) in the near future.
The Astros’ minor league system has produced some All-world talent over the last decade including Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Jones can play an important role for the Astros as they look to lock up a playoff spot this season.
Everybody knew Jones was next up, it was just a matter of time before he was able to crack an offensively stout Astros lineup.
One thing about Jones is he’s versatile. Now his primary position is first base, but he can play other positions as well.
That was the case for him on August 21st against his hometown team.
Going up against the Seattle Mariners that day, Jones thought he would be starting in his primary position.
“It was about an hour before the game when we got news the lineup was switched up,” Jones told the Houston Chronicle. “All my preparation was for first base. I just tried to get out there and make the plays and do what you can out there.”
Jones got the starting nod in left field that game and he had his best performance of the season.
He went 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored. The 27-year-old was a single away from the cycle.
That performance right there let the league know that Jones is all about business.
“(I) opened up the stance a little bit, (to) try to get my direction a little bit more toward the pitcher,” Jones said. “I was kind of swinging open before the adjustment, kind of spinning out of the box. Now I’m a little bit more direct and a little cleaner path with the swing.”
Making adjustments is a necessary part of the game and can be a turning point for some players’ careers.
Jones understood that he had to make changes in his batting stance in order to see success. And so far it’s working.
He is on a three-game hitting streak and Astros manager Dusty Baker is liking what he’s seeing in Jones.
“He’s swinging the bat great. He’s corrected some flaws that prohibited him in the past from getting to certain pitches,” Baker said. “He’s worked hard. He’s had a good attitude the whole time — been up and down, up and down. He’s a fine young man who is trying to stay here.”
From 2016 to 2019 and a little bit of this year, Jones was playing in the minors. After this season, he could be a mainstay in the majors if he continues to impress on the field.
As all baseball fans know, swinging for the fences also leads to a lot of strikeouts.
Howard tallied more than 1800 whiffs, with an average of 190 Ks per season during his career with the Phillies.
It was a small consolation, however, for the 382 dingers he smashed for the franchise in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Howard sits second all-time in homers in Phillies history trailing Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
Howard also drove in 1,194 runs, ranking him third in Phillies history behind the aforementioned Schmidt and Ed Delahanty. He ranks fourth all-time in extra-base hits for the Phils and second in intentional walks. Case in point, pitchers feared him with players in scoring position.
In 2006, Howard won NL MVP, and the Home Run Derby in an exciting overtime slugfest, beating Mets star third baseman David Wright (23-22).
Howard was bit of a late bloomer as he didn’t become a regular in the Phils lineup until he was 26, but he had finally arrived.
But, he quickly made up for lost time, by becoming the fastest player in major league history to 1,000 RBIs as well as 100 and then 200 home runs.
While impressive but also ignominious, Howard also holds the MLB record for Golden Sombreros, the distinct honor of striking out four times in one game.
He amassed this swing-and-miss feat 27 times in his career.
The price of power comes high, for Howard’s time in the majors he earned a whopping $180.3 million, which in turn amounted to roughly $115,000 per game. Howard homered in 24% of the games played for the Phillies, receiving about $472K per long ball.
While that might seem exorbitant, consider that former Mariner-Ranger-Yankee star Alex Rodriguez earned more than $142K per game for his 22-year MLB career, and he was getting about $475K per dinger.
Just as a comparison, in 2020 dollars, Babe Ruth earned $12.7 million for his 22 seasons, and with his 714 homers, he was paid a paltry $17,800 per moon shot.
Howard’s dollar for dingers rate is an unfair measure of his value.
His $180 million career earnings were backloaded. Roughly 33% of that total came over his last three seasons the bigs, which were, because of injury, among his least productive years.
In 2011, Howard suffered a serious Achilles injury in a playoff game against the Cardinals and was never the same. In his final four seasons, he basically playing on one foot snd curtailing a sure shot Hall of Fame career.
After tumbling out the gates to start the 2021 season, Dominic Smith’s recent hot streak has been a key reason the New York Mets have charged to the top of the National League East.
Smith is 7-for-17 in his last six games played (.411 BA) and slugging around 600. to raise his season average near .260. He’s beginning to look like the player who many believed had finally arrived during the 2020 Covid-shortened season.
Dominic Smith went nearly two full months between this homer and his last one on 4/13. Had to feel good in general, but it had to feel a little extra good because that baby wasn’t a cheap one. #Mets#LGM (via @Mets) pic.twitter.com/5Y2tox4mBd
And while hitting is what gets him paid, Smith’s improvements on defense should have Mets fans extremely excited about the future.
A first baseman by trade, Smith has been forced to learn a new position with the emergence of slugging first basemen Pete Alonso (The 2019 NL Rookie of the Year). And for a while, things looked bleak for Smith in the outfield.
Coming into this season, Smith had played 470 1/3 innings in left field, and the results during that time left much to be desired.
There’s a plethora of metrics — that would take most folks hours to understand — that’s used to determine how good a particular player is defensively.
The two important metrics to look at here are Outs Above Average and Defensive Run Saved.
Outs Above Average is a ranged base metric of skill that shows how many outs a player has saved, while Defensive runs saved quantifies a player’s entire defensive performance by attempting to measure how many runs a defender saved. It takes into account errors, range, outfield arm and double-play ability.
Last season, the universal DH allowed the Mets to hide Smith’s inadequacies in the outfield by splitting his time with Alonso between DH & First Base. With the universal DH no longer an option, Smith has put in the work to be an everyday outfielder.
Although this is a small sample size, in 319 2/3 in left this season Smith has done a complete 180. He’s produced a 2 DRS, 0.8 RngR while being top 10 in each of the previously mentioned statistical categories.
But what can cause such a drastic shift in a player’s defensive rating?
According to Thomas Hall of metsmerizedonline.com, it’s as simple as adjusting his pre-pitch positioning.
“Well, a major component of his progression has been where the team has positioned him before the start of each play,” Hall writes. “Since the Junipero Serra HS standout has historically struggled with his range in the outfield, the coaching staff has decided to move him closer to the foul line, which has made it much easier for him to track down balls when ranging to his right.”
Smith has also stepped up as a mentor for younger players like MLBbro rookie Khalil Lee.
Last season, the Mets were one of the worst defensive teams in Major League Baseball. But now, as the game evolves and defensive versatility is considered a huge plus, the emergence of Smith as not only a dangerous hitter, but a reliable defender and leader will help the Mets remain in the pennant race.