Predicting the Unpredictable: Will Adam Jones Hit 400 Career Home Runs?

Sports and Bets — July 24, 2015 at 4:56 pm by

Adam Jones just recently passed the legendary Frank Robinson on the Orioles career home run list.  Frank ‘The Judge” Robinson hit 179 of his 586 career home runs with the Birds and he’s the greatest baseball player to ever put on a Baltimore baseball uniform.  Adam Jones, who is well on his way to being the second greatest Oriole outfielder ever (Frank being the greatest), now has 184 career round trippers and he’s hit 181 of them here as an Oriole.

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Only 53 Major Leaguers have managed to hit 400 home runs.  Four Orioles of consequence are on that short list of prolific sluggers.  The aforementioned Frank Robinson, Rafael Palmiero, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken.  (Yes, that sentence means that when Sammy Sosa, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Reggie Jakcson were here they were of little or no consequence.  Nobody identifies them as Orioles.)  Meanwhile Jones, since his arrival to Baltimore via trade in 2008, has definitely become an Oriole of consequence.  He’s become a perennial all-star, he’s a multiple gold glove winner, and he hits for average and power.

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But will he join the 400 home run club?  The club that helps defines not only pure baseball power, but sustained power. That’s a big maybe.  As mentioned above, Jones has 184 career home runs.  That means he needs 216 more bombs to reach 400.  That will be no easy task.  Jones is going to be 30 on August 1st, and while thirty is not the production decline number in baseball that it is in football, it is a good marker to gauge career production by.  Most players who have hit 400 home runs or more have hit somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 home runs by the end of the season in which they began the season at 30 years of age. That season will be the end of 2016 for Adam Jones.

Because Jones has become such a consistent baseball player, we’ll take a stab at what his total career home runs will be at the end of 2016.  I know that injuries, or simply a terrible season, could derail this prediction method, but Jones numbers’ have been extremely even over his past five seasons.  He’s the only player to ever hit within the .280-.289 range for five straight seasons. and during the last four seasons he has hit between 25 and 33 home runs every season.  His lowest home run total of the past four years came in 2012, when he went yard 25 times.  (He played in 151 games that year.) Then he hit 33, 32, and 29 in the next three campaigns while playing 162, 160, and 159 games, respectively.  So far this season, he has hit 15, while missing eleven games with a vague shoulder ailment. Those number are consistency at its most consistent, folks, so I don’t at all feel bad about pro-rating his home runs per at bats (since 2012)  forward to help us predict where Jones will be at the end of 2016.

Since 2012, Jones has 134 home runs in 2,836 at bats.  That’s a home run every 21.16 at bats.  If we carry that number forward – assuming he plays every remaining game this season, and assuming that in the 68 games left in 2015 he’ll get roughly 280 at bats – Jones will hit 13 more home runs this season.  That will give him a career total of 197.  If then in 2016 we assume that he hits to his average home run production over his previous five seasons, he’ll hit 29 home runs in ’16 for a grand total of 226 career home runs at the end of 2016.  That will put him within 174 home runs of 400.

That means that Jones will have to continue to produce major power well into his 30’s.  As we mentioned before, a lot of guys with big career home runs totals hit somewhere around 250 of them by the time they finished their season that they began as a thirty year old..  Cal Ripken, the leader in career home runs hit by an Oriole as an Oriole, hit 259 of his 431 career home runs by that point.  Eddie Murray, had hit 275 career home runs at the 30 mark and Frank Robinson had a mind numbing 373 home runs at the 30 years of age mark in his career.  Robinson hit 49 home runs in the year that he turned 30 and he won the AL MVP.  That was his first season in Baltimore.

Jones will be close enough to 250 home runs, if our prediction holds up, to make a run at 400.  Jeff Bagwell was at 221 at the end of year in which he turned 30 and he ended up with 449 career dongs.  Rafael Palmeiro and Jason Giambi were at 194 and 187 before assaulting pitching in their thirties to finish with 569 and 440 home runs respectively.  And guys did it before the whiff of needeles filled with fake muscles wafted their stench over major league venues.  Darrell Evans hit 207 home runs between the age of 31 and 42.  He hit 40 home runs at age 38.  So health permitting , it’s more than possible for elite players to keep blasting baseballs well into their thirties.

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For Jones to reach the magical number of 400 he’ll have to average 29 home runs a year until he’s 37 years old.  That’s been his average over the past five seasons, the seasons that made him an all-star.  That sounds doable, but it’s impossible to predict when father time will catch up to  any player.  More than likely, Jones will need a couple of  35-40 home run season to boost his chances at 400.  That’s doable too.

I think Jones can do it.  I’ll be rooting for it to happen for sure.  And I hope all 400 home runs happen with Jones wearing the Orange and Black.

 

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