Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jones vs. Wlad, Briefly

You look at the title and you the words "no competition" may come to mind. However, Erik Bedard trade rumors got me thinking about this, and my opinion may surprise you. The current offer to the Baltimore Orioles for ace Erik Bedard is unknown, but it contains one of Adam Jones or Wladimir Balenien, possibly both. If the Mariners can get by without losing both of them, who stays?

The obvious answer might be Adam Jones, right? He's been the Mariners top prospect for a few years now and destroyed AAA pitching in 2007. As of right now he's slotted to be Seattle's starting right fielder. Some have called him the next Ken Griffey, but most comparisons are to Mike Cameron, Torii Hunter and Grady Sizemore at best. Cameron, Hunter and Sizemore are all great players, but are not difficult to find. I think the idea that Jones is the Mariners next great power hitter are unfair. I can't see him hitting more than 30 in any given season as a major leaguer.

Wlad is not the same type of outfielder as Adam Jones. Adam Jones is the "do everything pretty well" type of player, while Wladimir Balentien's goal is to be a "do one thing extremely well". That one thing is power hitting. In 2003 Wlad hit 16 homers in just 50 rookie league games and hasn't missed a beat since. He knocked 25 out in high-A, 22 in AA and 24 this past season at AAA Tacoma during his methodical rise through the minors. He has shown some improvement in his walk totals and his strikeouts are steadily coming down. Wlad's favorite player? Manny Ramirez, and it shows. It may be a stretch, but Wladimir Balentien could be a Manny Ramirez with better speed and defense someday. That is, of course, if the strikeouts continue to come down and the batting average stays up. The kid is getting bigger every year and could be a real power threat in the majors.

Adam Jones has more value, so trading him and keeping Wlad may make more sense. This may be a risk, as Jones at his very worst would be a Corey Patterson or Jose Cruz type, while Wlad at his very worst is looking at a short career filled with more strikeouts than games played. That's at their very worst, but I expect both to have solid major league careers. If I have to choose one to keep this offseason, right now I'd go with Wlady. Sell Jones while his value is still high and hope that Balentien lives up to his great power potential. You can find another Adam Jones in any draft, even Rule 5's (Josh Hamilton 2006).

Typo caught just in time: Wladimir Bladimir.. a new nickname?

View all Bleeding Blue and Teal posts related to: Adam Jones - Wladimir Balentien AD-JON WL-BAL


Michael said...

I think people also forget that Jones is a converted Shortstop - and there aren't too many 30+ HR shortstops out there. Jones has power, no doubt, but I agree - I do think too many people point to him as the offensive savior of the M's. At this stage, he's still ALL potential.

mama said...

I think trading Jones would be a big mistake. Let them trade Wlady, Morse, and Reed. Jones has lots of potential, but until he is really given a chance to play on a regular basis and grow as an everyday big league player, we will never know what he can do. He is only 22. Yet, he is fast and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield, has a rocket for an arm, and great bat speed.5 tool player. Wlady isn't doin so hot in the Venezuelan winter league. I think he has power and potential as well, but I think he will not be consistent with his at bats. Jones gives you more options with his ability to play outfield, shortstop, and he was a pretty good pitcher at one time.

Anonymous said...

I think you're kidding yourselves if you think Adam Jones will play another game at shortstop for the rest of his career.

Dustin said...

I have been saying this for so long, and now somebody else finally blogs it as well. Bravo, Jon. I congradulate you for speaking your opinion that Jones is not all that. I 100% agree with everything you said, except that Joens is a Sizemore. Jones is nowhere near Sizemore. AT BEST Jones is a Mike Cameron.