Colby Rasmus vs. Adam Jones

by Brendan Panikkar | Posted on Sunday, January 19th, 2014
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Colby Rasmus was better than Adam Jones in 2013

Colby Rasmus was better than Adam Jones in 2013

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 McCutchenhis 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 Troutor 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.

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Brendan Panikkar
About the Author

Brendan Panikkar is a graduate of Brock University's Sport Management program. Currently, he is the Social Media Specialist for Pragmatic. He loves all sports but baseball and football take precedent over hockey and basketball. Teams: Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Raptors

  • Ryan

    Interesting take and I do agree that people fail to look at the numbers in more depth, but I disagree with the argument. Jones and Rasmus aren’t in the same league whatsoever. The whole strike out % argument can be thrown out the window, as Rasmus struck out nearly as much in far fewer at bats. He didn’t walk that much more either, although he probably would’ve had he appeared more times at the plate, but there is also a good chance that his average and OBP would’ve plummeted with more PA’s.

    BABIP is a legit stat, but in Rasmus’ case not so much. When you strike out more than 25% of your plate appearances and hit over .275, I’d expect one to have a high BAIBP. Jones’ BABIP and walk totals are only lower because he puts the ball in play a ton. As far as defense goes, numbers can’t explain everything. Yes, Rasmus by the numbers had more range, but when you play 160 plus games year after year, which Jones does, you won’t be able to get to everything. Jones also has a far better arm, as indicated by all the assists he racks up year after year.

    Then there’s the leadership, like you mentioned, which he is known for throughout the league. I don’t believe Rasmus will ever get to a Jones-type leadership level, despite the strides he’s made in dealing with his own immaturity. And yes, Jones does hit in a favorable part in the order and is protected by one of the most prolific power hitters in the game at times, but he hits where he hits in that order because he is trusted. Rasmus hit 9 on a team with one of the worst records in the American league, so I’m sure he saw his fair share of good pitches also being a 9 hitter. Put simply, he overachieved on a team full of underachievers.

    All viewpoints aside, I enjoyed reading your article. Please continue to write because I enjoy articles with substance. We need more of that.

    • Brendan

      Thank you for the opinions! The track record definitely favours Jones as he has done what he’s done longer and more consistently than Rasmus. The stats may show Rasmus was better last year and if he does it again this may have even more credibility. No matter what viewpoint or who picks who is right. It’s fun comparing and constrasting these two because Jones is a lot of people’s poster boy CFer. Thanks again! This was fun to write to see everyone’s viewpoints and spark debate!







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