Colby Rasmus vs. Adam Jones
The Toronto Blue Jays and Colby Rasmus avoided reaching an arbitration hearing by re-signing Colby Rasmus to a 1 year 7 million dollar deal. Based off of how he played last year the deal is a bargain for the Blue Jays. Statistically speaking, Colby Rasmus had a better season last year than AL East rival Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles. Rasmus has the potential and is likely to continue to trend in the right direction to stay ahead of Jones as a better ball player for maybe the rest of his career. To fans who do not believe in advanced statistics to evaluate a player, it is easy to pick Adam Jones as the better player. However, when you uncover the statistics that mean something and truly show how good a ball player was, Rasmus trumped Jones in almost every stat category. Let’s examine some of the statistics.
Colby Rasmus: 8.1 BB%, 29.5 K%, .225 ISO (isolated power), .356 BABIP (batting average on balls in play)
Adam Jones: 3.6 BB%, 19.7 K%, .208 ISO, .314 BABIP
When you look at these numbers it is easy to make some simple assumptions. First, Colby Rasmus struck out a ton last year, but despite all of the strikeouts he accumulated he was still able to have a great impact in other facets of the game. When he put the ball in play, his average was .356 which shows that he was able to accumulate his fair share of hits. He also walked at a higher percentage than Jones (despite the K’s) The ability to walk at a higher percentage shows that Rasmus’ eye in the batters box may not be as horrible as the K% suggests. The .225 ISO of Colby Rasmus also proves that despite Adam Jones trumping Rasmus in the amount of home runs and RBI Rasmus actually has better raw power and his career average is better than Jones. Jones was able to put up the RBI and home run numbers he did because he hit in a better spot in the order. If you believe in protection by guys behind you in the lineup, like having Chris Davis, people would rather challenge Jones than Davis. Jones got more favorable pitches to hit. Rasmus hit 22 home runs and usually batted in the bottom third of the order. He also added 66 RBI. If Colby Rasmus batted in a better spot in the order with more guys on base for him to drive in, the HR and RBI totals would likely be more even between the two. In my mind, batting in the bottom third of the order and putting up 22 home runs is very impressive and shows Rasmus could put up better offensive numbers in a better spot in the order.
Rasmus: .276 BA, .338 OBP, .501 SLG, .365 wOBA (weighted on base average), 130 wRC+, 16.7 Offensive rating, 12.9 defensive rating, 4.8 WAR
Jones: .285 BA, .318 OBP, .493 SLG, .350 wOBA, 118 wRC+, 20.6 offensive rating, -4.9 defensive rating, 4.2 WAR
About the only major statistic here that Adam Jones bested Colby Rasmus here is batting average and it was only by .009 points. Jones also had a better offensive rating (where batting and baserunning are combined) and it wasn’t that much higher than Rasmus while batting in a better spot in the order. To bring in a third party center fielder in Andrew McCutchen, his offensive rating was a 46.9. Andrew McCutchen is an elite center fielder who can do it all offensively. People mention Adam Jones around the same tier as McCutchen. This stat does not prove that Jones is on the same level as a McCutchen, a Mike Trout, or Carlos Gomez. This proves that despite all the rave reviews of how good offensively Jones is, he really isn’t much better than Colby Rasmus in that regard. Everywhere else Colby Rasmus trumped Adam Jones and was better at more things in baseball than Jones; like defense or having the ability to get on base or creating runs. Jones also had 689 plate appearances compared to 458 of Colby Rasmus. If Rasmus had about an equal amount of plate appearances he may be miles ahead of Jones in some of these categories. Colby Rasmus also had a better OPS than Adam Jones and looking at the vast majority of defensive statistics Colby Rasmus was better defensively than Adam Jones; proving the Gold Glove award is a bit flawed.
The human element of the game is an important aspect as well. Adam Jones is regarded as a leader in the clubhouse of the Orioles. Colby Rasmus is not, but that doesn’t mean the human element is not there for Rasmus. The strides he has made in his time in Toronto have proven that he is coachable and willing to learn. He will probably never be a leader like Jones, but Rasmus is beginning to work his way to being a very coachable player who eventually younger players will come to asking for advice.
To concretely say that a player is better than someone longevity in terms of success needs to be brought into consideration. Adam Jones has been a good player the majority of his career. Colby Rasmus in 2010 and 2013 had amazing seasons. In between, Jones was better. It is unclear whether Colby Rasmus will continue in his upward trend but if he has a similar or better season it will be safe to say concretely that Colby Rasmus is a better player than Adam Jones. Personally, I think he is better already, but there will remain skeptics of that. I hope this article sheds some light into what was proven by statistics; that Colby Rasmus is better than Adam Jones.