Thursday, April 24, 2008

Marching Toward Mendoza, Part 2: Jones' Slow Start Without Parallel Among Peers's Jerry Crasnick added Andruw Jones to his top-nine "slow starters" list, and Jones "leads the list" with the lowest batting average of any of the other candidates:

Andruw Jones, Dodgers CF (.156, one homer in 64 at-bats)

Jones' early travails rekindle bad memories from last season, when his .222 batting average, .724 OPS and penchant for killing rallies made it a tough sales job for agent Scott Boras.

Jones turns 31 Wednesday, so it's hard to believe his bat speed has vanished. But he messed himself up swinging for the fences in the quest for big money a year ago, and it might require an overhaul to resurrect the old Andruw.

"He's in a horrible habit where he has no back-side pivot to unlock his hips, and every swing is an uppercut swing," said a scout. "It's a grooved swing, and if you happen to hit his bat, he's swinging ... so hard that he can do some damage. But there's very little adjustment to be a good hitter."

Just weeks into Jones' tenure with the Dodgers, the team's fans are already booing him with fervor. He has also become a target for acerbic Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, who dared him to climb on a scale last week and began referring to him as "Tubbo" when Jones' weight popped up at 248. So much for a Southern California honeymoon.

Concern level: 7.5 [on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being "PANIC"; this is also the highest number of any candidate in the column]. Hitting coach Mike Easler has his work cut out for him.

Yikes, "Marching Toward Mendoza" could be a longer campaign than we at SoSG had anticipated.

What's that? You want an updated graph? Okay, if you insist.